We turn to metaphors to explain those things which are too complex to capture otherwise. Marriage. Death. Birth. Job loss.
Doors open and close in these metaphors; we emerge from ruts; we step from one vehicle into another. We even use one metaphor-laden experience to explain another: losing a job is like seeing a friend die.
If that's true, let me clarify the metaphor. Sometimes, losing a job is like a death that comes after a long illness. You've been hoping for a recovery, but when the end comes there's an element of relief.
That's the metaphor for many in journalism. A lot of us have been losing our jobs lately, and those who remain have felt the spectral shadow looming over them as well. When that bony hand finally lands on your shoulder, at the very least you can end the anticipation.
It's not much consolation, though. It's still a loss, and it still stings.
But the eulogy is nice. I've been buoyed by messages from friends and acquaintances, offering support and condolence and saying nice things about how well I've done my job. I feel a bit like a character in an old movie -- maybe one starring James Stewart -- who gets to go his funeral and hear people say positive things about him. It's comforting. It takes away some of the sting.
Those words will help today. To switch metaphors again, I've walked through a door. Been pushed, to be precise. I know another will open, but first I need to start walking down the hall.