My neighbor’s Christmas lights are declaring loud and proud that the holidays are here. And with holidays comes a time to see all the people who live in your heart. But since the Universe loves balance, so comes a time to say goodbye when it’s all over.
It got me thinking of all those farewells in my life that have left a dull ache in the heart and an empty space in the days to follow; got me thinking of one specific goodbye.
You see, today a year ago was the last day I saw my Dad alive, in person. A goodbye at the airport’s security gate was the last thing I ever said to him face to face.
The airport, kind of symbolic, don’t you think?
Airports have become the modern-day symbols of joy, and sorrow; the hubs of reunions, and good-byes. They hold enormous amounts of our collective love, and grief. How many tears have these places witnessed – from seeing someone again to seeing someone for the last time?
My goodbye to my Dad was littered with the hope of seeing him again, topped off with that last look from over my shoulder while in the security line, watching the green hood of his winter jacket disappear into the crowds, and suppressing the realization that the odds of us ever seeing each other again were against us.
Goodbye. I wish I had said something else – more meaningful, more memorable. Even something inappropriate would have been better because it would have made a great story to tell my grandkids one day. 😉
There has to be a way to make any “goodbye” epic, something that’s worthy of passing onto the future generations, or at least something that gives you a feeling of warmth when thinking of it.
With all the goodbyes ahead of you during the holidays, you might need to know as well. Or maybe you are like me, needing to speak to someone in another realm to make up for that last encounter.
So how to say a goodbye that’s good?
First. A good hug is better than a thousand words. No, not that “pat-pat on the back” hug, or an awkward side-hug, or a quick one, because you don’t want others around you feel uncomfortable. No, none of that. Instead, grab the person and hold him/her. Hold that hug for more than 3 seconds, so that the crowds will disappear and you will create a space in the Universe that holds only the two of you, for just a moment, for the hearts to beat together for a few times. Imagine that!
Second. Write a note. A hug aside, words are still important. My colleague from years ago could not stomach to admit to her grandma that it was most likely the last time she ever saw her alive since grandma was really ill. So she wrote her a note. When saying goodbye, she squeezed the note into her grandma’s fragile hand. I don’t know what was written in that note; I know what was on the outside – “read later.” She still has that note because when her grandma died 5 weeks later, the note was found under her pillow.
And last but not least. Say the 4 most loving and magical words in any language: the words that reinforce our deepest desires and needs as humans – to feel safe and to feel loved. Ready?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Think about it – feeling alone (not to be confused with being alone) is the mother of all fears of life. If we know that we have someone walking next to us at any given moment, the road ahead will be lighter to travel.
I wish I had done all three in that airport at 5:30 am before taking my spot in the security line. A hug, a note, a moment of love.
It would have accomplished what I missed – a connection between us. It’s what we really look forward to and what we miss the most about the ones living in our hearts.
What better gift to have and to give?!
P.S. If there’s an awesome good-bye in your arsenal of goodbyes, share with me in the comments!
What a beautiful and emotional article! After a few heartbreaking farewells in my life, that leaves no chance to relive the moment or correct the way I said goodbyes, I have decided to do it differently…
To the ones who really matter in my life, do wave with my hand but never say bye… either I stay quiet or I say “ see you… soon or again “ but never a bye… see you always leaves a positive impact, a hope to meet here or up there….
Once again, kudos to you for writing such an emotional and beautiful article!
Such a beautiful sentiment, you never know when is the last time you’ll see someone.
The thing about it is with some people you always wish you had five more minutes, but with those special people five more minutes would never be enough. You would always wish you had five more. I lost my PopPop this year. I wish had had ditched work and went and sat with him on his porch. Not that I hadn’t before. Just wish I had for five more minutes to sit there again. I wish I had said more, done more, but with those special people, I believe, you just have to honor the time you did have. Sometimes, it is never enough. I miss him everyday. Your right. Making the most of every moment, every goodbye is so important. You never know when it will be the last goodbye.
Thanks, Shelby! So true – never enough time, so the time we have needs to be authentic, honest, used to its fullest.