18

May

To leave is to die a little…

The verb to leave, like the verb to go, is one of the most common: we use it all day long, without noticing it: "I’m leaving for work..., to study elsewhere..., to go on vacation..., to go to the mountains."

It indicates that we are always moving or on the move: we could say that our existence is a permanent migration. But, of course, these daily departures are in no way deadly.

On the other hand, there does exist more radical departures or migrations to which the expression "to leave is to die a little" applies. Here we are talking about leaving the place where one lives, a more or less difficult decision to make, depending on whether this departure is voluntary or imposed: I can move to the place of a new professional assignment: it can be more or less imposed or chosen; I'm going to join my spouse and, in principle, it's pretty positive; it can also happen that I am driven from my home by war or conflict, by a climatic event or a disaster: then, I have no choice but to leave to save my life and that of my loved ones; it’s just running for my life...

Obviously, the reason for the departure determines the way it is lived. But, be that as it may, to leave is always to die a little.

Indeed, when we leave, we leave a place to which, in general, we were attached, a place more or less loaded with memories, depending on the length of time we lived there…; we leave behind neighbourhoods, friendships, work, and possibly family relationships…; a professional activity; habits built over the years; emotional bonds…; perhaps, material goods that cannot be taken with us... All this leads to a detachment, more or less painful, which makes one think of death.

But when the departure is forced, it is simply a wrenching out from the world that one must leave, more or less quickly and brutally, where one leaves almost everything, taking just the essentials with oneself, as much as possible. If we have time, we then ask ourselves: what are we taking with us? Important papers? Pictures? Clothes? Equipment?... To leave is then, quite simply, to avoid dying; but also, really, to die a little, especially if there is little prospect of returning.

Thus, as we are always, in a certain way, on the move, migrating, in daily life, the proverb is verified, more or less, in all cases of an actual departure. But all of our lives end, one day, by a departure with no return that all the departures that we experienced during our lives have anticipated: an ultimate migration, prepared by the migrations of each day, which constitute our human condition. Since, by nature, we are all mortal, we are also, all of us, migrants, both in space and in time.

Jean-Louis

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