It has been an emotional couple of weeks for me. I have spent this time saying goodbye to some wonderful people who I have truly come to love. In April of 2011 I started a journey down a road that I never saw coming or expected to venture down, when in hindsight it was there all along. Even though I consciously spent my childhood striving to be more like my father than my mother it was my mother who truly formed what was in my heart. I used to worry about being “soft-hearted” as I perceived my mother to be as I was growing up. I thought she was weak and let herself be pushed around. What I eventually learned with time and experience was that she was the strong one, filled with compassion and love. And somehow those qualities that I once thought were her weaknesses were in actuality the qualities I wanted to embody. I watched her nurture every animal that ever crossed her path and check in constantly on elderly, ill and afflicted neighbors; she could not deny what was in her heart and she never tried to. On my mother’s birthday in 2011, 3 years after her death I received a phone call from an organization I had sent an application to. After spending 9 years caring for my ailing parents and a few years before that as a stay at home mom I needed to return to work. It was a very scary undertaking but I stuck with it, applied myself and tried every single day to learn something new. I prayed a lot during this time, prayed that God would watch over myself and the participants I was working with, to help us understand each other and to communicate with each other in ways that would allow us both to understand the other. I was very nervous and I wish I had a dollar for every time I felt that I didn’t think I could go on but each experience I worked through made me a little bit stronger, the good and the bad. It’s not always easy working with individuals that cannot verbally communicate their needs or desires to you but what I learned during this time was how very rewarding it could be to tune in with not just my ears but with my heart to the needs of another. To really listen is to feel, not just hear. I am leaving the students and participants that I have come to love and that tug at my heart. I am leaving coworkers that taught me so very much. I am starting a new venture in my life, within the same field but with a different organization. It has been a “bittersweet” departure, filled with doubt and some regrets. I am grateful for the experience and hope that in some tiny way I will be missed a little, but life moves forward even though our eyes mist at the memories of the past. I wish all my coworkers at Bittersweet Farms the best and to all the students and participants I shared the last 2 years with, thank you for teaching the teacher.