We all know what saying goodbye looks like because we’ve all had to do it at one time or another. Sometimes there are wet eyes and awkward thank you’s. Sometimes you hug and then you hug again because you’re not ready to let go. Sometimes you shove your hands in your pockets and just say the words “bye” because that hurts less than dragging it out. Regardless of how you express your affection, we all understand what it means to do so for the last time, or at least the last time in a long time.

Summer is nearly upon us and for many of us that means saying goodbye to a lot of important people for a few months. However, some of us are studying abroad, transferring, or graduating, so the goodbyes may very well last a little bit longer than a few months. And of course, it’s always really hard to leave behind the people you love. But the fact is that sometimes it’s necessary.

In the words of my high school English teacher; leaving is sad. Leaving will always be sad. But it’s not necessarily a tragedy.

When we come to a place, any place, a school, a new city, or back home, we begin to forge bonds with the people around us. It’s natural and healthy that we should. And when we leave that place, those bonds get stretched and sometimes broken. But that can be healthy too.

We all have our own lives, our own paths that we travel on. And we can’t take every person we meet and love with us. Nor can we allow them to hold us back or drag us down their path. Sometimes our roads will cross, converge for a time, long or short, and then separate again. And it hurts when they do separate but that does not lessen the value of the time we spent walking down the same road.

Sometimes, the people who are in our lives for the shortest time make the biggest impact. They leave a mark that can never be removed or forgotten. So in a sense, these people are still a part of our lives because their impact can be seen and felt in our daily actions and choices. We cling to them in our memories and thoughts, and while that never feels as good as holding them in our arms, there’s still value in the memory.

So this is to the people that I never wanted to say goodbye to. I will miss you and cling to our memories until we can make new ones again. You have touched my life in ways I never thought possible and I thank you for that. You held me when I cried, you gently corrected me when I was wrong, and you taught me how to find beauty in myself and others. I hope and pray that our paths cross again sometime soon but until they do, I wish you all the luck in the world.