I’m not putting this here because I can’t say “I love you” to you, because I can; it’s just that I want to say it more than once, and use as many mediums as I can find. I’d skywrite it above Pacbell Park if I could, interrupting the game and forcing everyone to crane their necks upward. It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t understand the message--even though it’s left where they can find it, it’s not for them any more than hieroglyphics are for museum patrons.
I know you have to leave, and I never expected you to stay forever, and so now I want to tell you that there have been times in my life when I’ve needed strength, and I had strength, and the strength was yours. There have been times in my life when I’ve needed courage, and I found courage, and the courage was yours. There have been times in my life when I’ve needed wisdom, and I found wisdom, and the wisdom was yours. I wasn’t able to get all of it, but I was able to learn something about how you used yours, and then I was able to use part of it for myself.
And it’s not just me. People around you are attracted to those qualities in you and often stand in awe of them. And you’re able to share them, to allow other people to gain the benefit of them. Here, perhaps this will be an analogy that you like: you create a thermodynamically favorable reaction--you transfer your qualities to others and they receive the energy, like a transition from a high-energy state to a low-energy state.
That doesn’t quite add up? Well, you know that kind of talk isn’t my comfort zone. It’s the thought that counts.
I know there’s no way to make this easier on myself, and I find that all I really want to do is make it easier on you. So maybe I’ll just remind you of a few things: for those who won’t have a chance to know you, I will tell them all about you and their heads will fill up with images of you. Pictures and videos and stories will be passed on from person to person. It will be easy to remember you because no one will ever have forgotten. And through the cycles of forgetting and remembrance, they will also carry the embers of your strength, wisdom, and courage. Your store of these qualities is tremendous and it is not so easily depleted.
I understand that we may not meet again, but even if we did, saying “Until we meet again” is a cop out: that’s not what I want to say. I want to say that I’m glad that we met at all, that I knew you and for so long, and even though I wish it were longer, I’m still grateful for the time we had. And I want to say “Goodbye” and I want to say “I love you.” And I will keep saying it until you have to leave, and I will probably continue saying it for some time, even if you can no longer hear me.