The infamous Boys II Men song begins, “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday”. While listening to the song, I was taken on a sad journey of all the goodbyes I have had to say in life both significant and inconsequential. I remember sadly saying goodbye to my bell-bottoms in 7th grade, a pair of jeans I wore every week for an entire school year. Like these bell-bottoms, I remember saying goodbye to countless other fads throughout my high school years. At each point I uttered that little phrase, I felt as if I was losing a piece of me I would never get back, well at least until the new fad came out. But then I remember those significant goodbyes, ones that are carved into my memory with feelings of both joy and sadness. Memories such as saying goodbye to my parents when I moved into my freshmen dorm in college or saying goodbye to my high school best friend as he moved to New Jersey or saying goodbye to my Dominican host-family as I boarded a plane back to the United States.
Thanks to my many world travels, I have perfected the art of saying goodbye to people, places, and families I may never met again. Yet saying goodbye is only the initial part of this process; I have found coping with these partings after the fact is 10X more difficult than that 7 letter word could ever imply. After the bags have been packed and I have boarded a plane to another destination, I struggle in this process of letting go and guarding memories of people, places, and past events that are etched onto my heart.
So how do I say goodbye to 24 years in Spartanburg, a multitude of friends and professors at Wofford, colleagues at Spartanburg School District 7, family and friends, and many memories of a town that has shaped me and formed me into the person I am today?
I am not sure I will ever master the art of saying goodbye, but as the song retorts, “I will take with me these memories to be my sunshine after the rain.”
Dear Spartanburg, you will always be my sunshine.