Hellos and Goodbyes

We’d all like to believe that, having lived for at least half a century, we’d have the wisdom and ability to let go. But it’s never easy, whether its letting go of loved ones or letting go of the timetables and expectations we set for our children.

And losing is even more difficult. We can decide — painfully — to let go, but when we lose something, the matter has been taken out of our hands. We can’t change it or make it better, our choices are limited to how we cope and react.

The essayists in this section remind us that this is a time for self empowering. Get rid of outdated concept and unrealistic expectations, they say. Learn to take chances when life offers opportunities.

Our writers provide sobering tales of loss. But they also offer life-affirming essays about discovering, sometimes most unexpectedly, new richness in their lives.

When her very existence was thrown into disarray by her husband’s crippling illness, one writer found angels in human form. They appeared unbidden to take over wherever needed. A writer who prized her independence had to give up her home for life in a retirement community. She feared the worst but found instead vitality, friendship and intellectual stimulation. Other women found in themselves the ability to learn, to take risks, and to develop talents they didn’t know they had.