I was not emotionally prepared to have my heart broken by pictures of Big Bird today. This is not fair. It’s Friday! It’s been a long week! This is not how the weekend should begin!

Nonetheless, you have to see these pictures, posted today from the official Sesame Street account on Twitter. (Side note: Sesame Street is way too pure to be on Twitter. They should not be forced to participate in that place’s insanity.) As reported earlier this week, Caroll Spinney — the man who has played both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since the show’s inception almost 50 years ago — is finally retiring from his two signature roles. He came to the set one final time this week to record his last performance as Big Bird. And that is what we have for you now. (Warning: You will probably need some tissues, so get those at the ready.)

That’s his wife Debra crying and hugging him in the third picture; you can learn more about their relationship in the lovely documentary I Am Big Bird from 2014, which is about Spinney’s life and career as two of the most iconic children’s television characters in history. The characters will continue, of course — as you can see in the pictures, the 84-year-old Spinney no longer performed the puppetry of Big Bird, because the role became too physically difficult a few years back — but a little piece of their soul will be gone. Have a great, not-crying-all-the-time-about-Big-Bird weekend!

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