My address book grows and shrinks.
Sometimes I’m adding new contacts as I expand my social circle. At other times I’m removing people that I don’t have a connection with anymore.
Being social, it’s uncomfortable to remove people from the list. A lesser loss is when I remove a thread from my texting app. In that case, the connection is still there, but only tenuously. People that don’t have a thread going can be forgotten and the relationship that is already withering might finally die.
A sadder removal from the contacts and address book happens when someone I know has passed. When I remove them, the memories will fade, and I will think of them less and less. Perhaps, it’s a way that I can honor their memory by leaving them in the list. For special people, I might want to keep them listed as a sort of memorial.
My paper address book has six names per page. When all of the addresses aren’t valid anymore, I can take it out and discard it. It’s another way to let go of memories. The paper form is more permanent than a list in a phone but eventually the information gets out of date and people leave my life.
Letting go of people can be solidified by a funeral or ceremony. For a few friends that I lost track of over the years, I found out later that they’ve passed on. It makes me sad that I didn’t find out until years later.
I don’t want to let go of people with the same attitude that I have when I’m throwing away a dried-up pen. I think people deserve more consideration than that which is part of why ghosting seems malevolent to me. However, putting a piece of paper in the trash and removing the information from my phone can be just as easy.
Letting go is a transition that can take many forms. Loss is a part of the human condition and having fond memories of someone can make the loss feel meaningful.