Momento mori

Photo credit: Bobby Jones - The Sentry

Photo credit: Bobby Jones – The Sentry

I am a construct of cusps. Born in the space between Aquarius and Pisces, I was given a birth certificate that listed my father as “unknown” even though my mother chose to give me his last name. He was in my life on and off until I last saw him silhouetted in the glow of red and blue police lights. I was nine. Because of my name, his absence rendered me as neither my father’s daughter or my maternal family’s obvious relation; my mom often had to carry documentation to prove she was legally allowed to take me home from school. My very blood felt liminal.

She tried to get me to change my name for a decade. I refused.

I accidentally found his obituary online last February. He’d died the year before that. If I felt anything, it was annoyance that I’d lost the agency behind the choice not to look for him—or maybe at the lost possibilities that bent in the opposite direction of that choice. I still don’t know. Regardless, I had to reconsider the ways I thought of finality. He ended without my knowing it, and my life went on unchanged.

I’ve been writing toward the end of my time at The Sentry for most of this semester. I was looking at this last issue under my tenure as a hard stop at the end of the very long sentence, and each issue that came before it had to give that final period weight. However, now that I’m here, I understand what many people have seen before me: there are very few hard stops in life.

As I made comments on the last round of my editors’ columns, and as they used that space to reflect on their time in Tivoli #345, I thought about how subjective finality really is. Sometimes endings occur without being noticed (like my father’s death)—and others aren’t really over unless we choose to leave them behind us. My experiences here will inform all my experiences that have yet to come, and that seems to be the case for most of the people who have worked in this office.

At this moment, The Sentry is on the cusp of two separate editorial teams. To this year’s editors: thank you, thank you, thank you for being here. To next year’s, and the next, and the next: enjoy the hell out of it.

Taylor Kirby
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