The end of a semester is usually something of a relief - an end, a brief pause to gather the breath, and then a new beginning charged with possibility. But this time it is different.  I have insisted to myself and to other people that I am ready for it to be over, to be finished, to be done with 2014 all the way around. But the end, this time, is also marked with sorrow.

I had an exceptional class, yes, so that is part of it. The students in it and the content cannot be recreated. During the darkest days of mourning, when I could barely stand to be in my own skin, I found an unexpected oasis of somewhat forgetting when I was talking with my students about how doing the craft of history kept transforming, how studying the past could clarify a life, and what it all might mean. These students were patient with me, and came to me with sharp minds, penetrating questions, and their own losses and struggles. 

And now, in the same building where I taught, my friend’s office stands emptied of whatever vestiges may have been floating amongst his books and his belongings.  The space stands still and silent, waiting to be filled with something new. And it has to be so; it was time.  But it is the end of an era. And endings can be so very bitter, without much sweet.