Starting the New Year with Good-Bye

My new year is beginning with a good-bye. Later today I’ll be heading to a funeral for a friend, a wonderful woman who touched many lives.

I’ve been debating if I should be superstitious about starting the year this way: How can a funeral be the kick-off for a great year? At the same time, greeting the year by saying farewell has given me a different perspective on the start of 2011.

Good-Bye is Hard

I know I’m not the only one to lose someone special this time of year. Gord Hotchkiss wrote a touching post about his Uncle Jim, who died on Christmas Day. It’s an unfortunate reality of life that some things don’t wait, and death is one of them. When it’s time, it’s time. As hard as that can be to accept – I’m still disbelieving that my vibrant friend Elwyn is not going to be sitting next to me in our weekly class Monday night – life goes on for the living, though it’s never quite the same.

Looking Back, Forging Ahead

The song, “Closing Time” by Semisonic says, “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” I find a lot of truth in that. So as I say good-bye to my dear friend, I’m thinking ahead to what I can learn from her life, and how I can honor her in what I do.

Elwyn was always humble, giving, warm and caring – all traits I could probably use more of. She never lost her sense of humor, and a dash of humor is a great spice to add to life. She was a loving, serving, peaceful person. The world needs more people like that. But she wasn’t afraid to speak up when she disagreed, and definitely wasn’t a “yes (wo)man.” I would be thrilled to be just half the woman my friend was.

Discovering New Beginnings

Death is not the only ending that spurs new beginnings. The loss of a job, moving to a new city, changes in relationships can all be drivers for fresh approaches to life. Losing a key customer, dealing with shifts in technology or products that have run their course will drive us to new ways to work.

Think for a few minutes about the endings in your life during the past year. What passed by that you can reflect back on with distance and perspective today? How can you put that experience to good use in 2011?


This post is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Elwyn Alexander, who taught me to keep my chin up and never give up. No matter how long, some lives are just too short. God bless you, Elwyn.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}