Parting is such sweet sorrow

In my fire department, a promotion always comes with a transfer to a new station. The rationale is that the coworkers who remember you as a fresh-faced rookie will have a harder time treating you with the increased respect and authority that comes from moving up in rank. A new station is a fresh start. 

When people leave, we often get them a cake, and the goodbye messages are as heartfelt as you might expect from people who avoid sentimentality the same way a surgeon avoids nicking an artery. Affection is generally expressed through mockery. 

One man left my station this week, bound for a station where he'll be trained in swift-water rescue. DON'T DROWN, his cake said. 

Another went from our ladder truck to an station with a better working schedule. His coworkers bought an ice cream cake came with HAPPY BIRTHDAY written on it. The letters were scraped off and replaced with YOU'RE DEAD TO US.

That reminded someone of when a well-liked firefighter left the department to pursue her aspirations as an artist. Her cake said GOOD RIDDANCE, and I imagine there were some less-than-dry eyes in the group at that overt expression of grief and loss.