Service of Goodbye

November 17th, 2016

Categories: Goodbye

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Goodbyes make me cry so I avoid the personal kind when possible. “I hate goodbyes,” said Bette Davis to Paul Henri in “Now Voyager,” which was on Turner Classic Movies last Sunday morning. Unless you’re escaping a horrible job or a dreadful house, apartment or neighborhood, I can’t be far wrong to guess that most agree.



I admire people who handle them well and hide their feelings in public because I can’t. Take Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. Wow. I thought President Clinton was on the verge as she spoke but she soldiered on without a hiccup. Between exhaustion, shock and disappointment, I don’t know how she controlled her emotions. The day after the election our office was a funeral parlor.

Gwen Ifill Photo:

Gwen Ifill Photo:

I started to write this post before I learned that the valiant Gwen Ifill died. What a hole in the media landscape she leaves. Her smile was genuine. I met her at a New York Women in Communications event and she was as lovely closeup as her image regardless of the unimportance of the person she was speaking with [unlike other media stars I’ve met at the same event, who will remain unnamed].

There have recently been other goodbyes, though not as permanent as Gwen’s nor as prominent as Secretary Clinton’s, and I predict very soon there will be countless more not only at the White House. The Wall Street Journal is shrinking its “Greater New York” section to a page or two and as a result, last week Ralph Gardner Jr. wrote his last “Urban Gardner” column, “The Pleasure Was All Mine–Ralph.” I’ve enjoyed his discoveries and will miss reading about the quirky things he discovered. In the same issue, columnist Marshall Heyman, “Heard and Scene,” bid readers adieu in “At the Close of a Column, Confessions of a Party Critic.” They are victims of the crisis newspaper publishers face.  I loved the full “Greater New York section.

Bill Plante. Photo:

Bill Plante. Photo:

On Sunday, on Face the Nation, John Dickerson said goodbye to the retiring Bill Plante, senior White House correspondent, who joned CBS in 1964.

The old saying “all good things must come to an end,” doesn’t make loss any easier. Whether it’s personal–when a friend moves away or a favorite colleague changes jobs–or the end of a beloved TV series, or as the result of retirement or firing of a favorite columnist, reporter, TV anchor or defeat of a choice of president, what do you do to readjust?

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6 Responses to “Service of Goodbye”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    I just read your blog with great interest. Of course it’s sad to make a huge change, like having to say goodbye.

    You have already mentioned many of the recent passings of great people, which is sad. Leonard Cohen left so much behind, and worked so hard, will be missed by millions.

    I don’t handle changes too well. One gets used to things, and change is difficult. I hope you don’t have any huge changes coming up.

    Good luck with your clients craft show. You’re doing a good publicity job.

    In my case it took a year and a half to finally get used to my new retirement life! But I look back fondly to knowing everyone in your/our office situation, that I used to share!Love to all, Hank.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We still miss you! So it takes us longer than other people…..

    As I wrote, I am always in awe of people who can say goodbye with stiff upper lip.

  3. hb Said:

    Unfortunately, there is something far more serious than sadness going on with all these goodbyes happening all at once.

    A major contributing factor to the Germans not winning the Second World War was the inevitable friction between the career professionals in academic, civil and overseas service and their new Nazi masters. Hitler and his high command often received and acted upon faulty intelligence as a consequence. (The unanswerable question as to whether Werner Heisenberg was actually personally responsible for Nazi Germany never having developed an atom bomb comes to mind as an example.)

    Early indications are that President-elect Trump and his followers are going to fall into the same trap as their Nazi forbearers. Instead of reaching out to the professionals in government for advice and guidance, they are going ahead on their own. And making a mess of it…

    I was once one of those civil servants. I lived through a regime change far less tumultuous than this one, didn’t like what I saw, and said, “Goodbye.” I think we will be seeing a lot more of these goodbyes in the near future.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You paint a plausible and frightening scenario. Here’s hoping that the concept of balance of power still works.

    As life moves much faster now than it did when Hitler was in power, I suspect that all those workers who are depending on Mr. Trump to bring manufacturing back here will realize that there’s no way he can do this, if only for reasons of technology. He might open five plants in one town and employ less than 100 people to run them all.

    Hope for the best is a weak response but it’s all I can come up with even though early indications of the transition team’s decisions point to as bad as expected.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    All good things come to an end, but the same holds for bad things as well. Take the tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes which destroy communities. The permanent loss of family members, friends, not to speak of homes, give victims plenty to cry about. Instead, they swallow unspeakable grief, pick up the pieces and rebuild. Personal losses come in countless forms, not necessarily visible or understood by others.

    The popular notion of “the stiff upper lip,” advertises ignorance of grief and its multiple forms. While there are those who can mask woes in this manner, how many more are there who simply have no more tears to shed?

    Let’s not waste time grieving over the past election which threatens to cripple the nation. HB is undoubtedly right in his assessment of this sorry state of affairs, so it’s time to start repairs by dismantling the Electoral Collage which disenfranchised a plurality vote of over 2,000,000. Next, let’s kick the clowns out of Congress. Two years is not much time, but it can be done if we get to work.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Every time I pack a photo of someone precious or a coffee mug that a person I love gave me to move to another place causing me to give away, sell or toss many things, I think of those you refer to who have nothing left of their homes or apartments, their belongings and mementos but a few wet sticks of wood or crumbled bricks. I am grateful. It helps to say goodbye to the other things.

    The “no more tears to shed” is a keen observation.

    Many people I respect want to get rid of the electoral college but I haven’t taken time to study the pros and cons so I am not yet prepared to agree [though in this election I wish it didn’t exist, it’s not enough reason to give it the chop. The horse is already out of the barn.] I’m with you to redress the imbalance in Congress: Let’s get to work. I also hope that those in Congress right now join together on both sides of the aisle to curb extremely inappropriate decisions made by political greenhorns with malicious intent.

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