Let's Read Epictetus: Enchiridion #7

Epictetus starts chapter seven with a metaphor about a sailor who chooses to go ashore when his ship makes port. He says a sailor may do a number of things, but that he must always be listening for the captains call to return. And when the call comes, the sailor must be ready to drop everything and return. 

Epictetus here refers to the truth that we must be parted from everything. Whether through our death or the death of our loved ones or the decay of what we own or theft we must be parted from everything. If this is outside our control and will happen, then we need to be ready for it to happen. So Epictetus counsels us to be ready to move on without another thought. 

This sounds harsh to many, as if the ability to move on after the death of a loved one means we didn't love them. But what benefit does it give to our loved one if we cannot move on after they are dead? Nothing. Furthermore, an inability to move on after the death of someone close to us suggests that we were attached to them in an unhealthy way. No stoic that I have read suggests in the least that we shouldn't love our spouses and children. But this doesn't meant that we have to base our happiness on them, for ultimately they are outside of our control. And when we are ready to be parted when fate comes knocking, we are ready to love freely.