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Sonoma County Gazette
Senior Momentum - A Series of Situations by Zoe Tummillo - November 2017

Sunsets, Bon Voyages... and Good-byes

Oct 23, 2017
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts


My Dad often said that good-byes need not be sad things – if you did it right. His philosophy about parting was simple: one should be sure to say good-bye with the possibilities clearly in mind. More than once his good-bye hug was followed with: Let’s hope we meet again, but if we don’t, always remember I love you!I feel fortunate that his attitude and philosophy has stayed with me. It doesn’t necessarily make parting or loss easier, but it helps strengthen one’s perspectives on reality.

Bon Voyage! and Sunsets have special bittersweet character, and I think we meet both with a childlike trust that all will be well – morning will come; travellers will return. While such “soft” departures serve to calm fears, who among us, at some occasion, has not had those fleeting moments of – what if? We’ve probably heard our own voice say, to a someone consumed with fears: “Don’t worry, everything will be all right...” (...and we sometimes say those words just trying to convince ourselves.)

Whether we learn from our wall-mounted-glass-face across the room, or from a frantic call or knock at the door, we can find ourselves suddenly pulled into awareness oftragedies about which we can do almost nothing. Memory can trick us, but I remember experiencing that tragedies were astounding things that happened exceptionally, infrequently and surprisingly. (Excepting war, of course.) One could move through and around a tragic situation with stalwart courage, doing what must be done. Trying to understand “why” can’t change things, but might help someone to better cope with insight. And then, there was time to heal.

Disasters, accidents, Mother Nature’s rampages, even the outrageous insanity and horrors of terrorism have a “why” somewhere in the rubble. But, in these few past years, I cannot catch my breath or keep my balance in the whirling cacophony of tragedy upon tragedy, each following on the heels of the other, assaulting mind, body and reason –following one another like a parade from hell! Not enough time in between, to heal.

So far, thankfully, I remain personally unharmed and will never know why. It leaves me disarmed and flabbergasted about the plight of others, like the man I just saw on the news. He was standing by his home, not a shingle disturbed; but his entire neighborhood was reduced to smoldering rubble. I won’t soon forget his bewilderment as he struggled with relief and survivor guilt.

Of course, we do what we can with hands-on help, with money and needed goods. (I hear my father’s voice and wish I could talk with him.) But, philosophies, credos or even Dad’s comforting words wax pathetic in the face of the need for driven pragmatic resolve and hard, new lines to be drawn in the sand. How do we kill inertia, wake up climate skeptics, replace sham leadership and get on with revisionist healing?

Freak weather! Massively destructive Hurricanes! 100 year Floods once a year! Insane Mass Murder! Devastating Wildfires! Furtive terrorist incidents contrived by twisted minds... we ask: what’s going on? When all is said and done in the wake of the latest effrontery, to life, love, country and planet, we are challenged only with the cleanups, a search for solutions, our efforts to prevent the preventable and survival strategies for going forward.

What we do not need (and must remedy) is patronizing pseudo leadership from a pathetic and insulated misfit who arrogantly scolded victims (elitism and prejudice scarcely veiled).

Too many Good-byes for too many good lives, from human to animal to flora, have been viciously thrown into premature Sunsets. Our Bon voyage feels like a Johnny-come-lately, weakly murmured, and rife with questions!



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