Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So Long Mr. XO

Many times we say goodbye to people: whether they be family members or mates we will get to see the next day, or many highschool and college classmates we know we'd see only after a few years down the line. Then there is the goodbye forever. The kind of goodbye we say to sworn enemies whom we'd rather die than be friends again with. Or the kind of sad goodbye to a soon-to-be-EX whom we wouldn't want to cross paths with again because the person brings back too much memories and mixed emotions. Finally there is the kind of goodbye we seal a coffin or a grave with. The one that no matter how painful, is eventually said to all of us.

Today, I'm sad as I say goodbye to a colleague of mine, Mr. Edmund Hennessey who everyone in our school calls Ted. I've decided to call him Mr. XO because of his last name which he would jokingly say, "Yes, I'm such a Very Special Old Prat!" V. S. O. P. or "Of course, I'm Mr. Extra-Ordinary!...Extra-Old, but Extra-Odrinary!"

Our last encounter was a happy one, throwing jokes and banters with fellow library regulars and staff. I never thought that THAT would be our last chance to laugh.

Mrs. XO, Marilyn, has been the model of strength, courage and bravery - she was caring for Ted and still coming in to work, teaching classes like nothing grave is happening. A truly strong and admirable woman!

Ted was diagnosed with cancer a few years back. When I first joined Al Ain Men's College, he was just leaving - going back to Australia because he wanted to be close with his family while battling the big, bad C. Last year, he came back to the Emirates to teach on a part-time basis until he went onboard full-time. He was a very good teacher, well loved by students and admired by colleagues.

Yes, permanent, sad, goodbyes are truly the worst kind of farewell. I just console myself in the knowledge that wherever he is right now, he's dishing out jokes and quick witted snipes and truly having a great time.

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