Saying goodbye is something we do on a daily basis. The Oxford Dictionary defines goodbye as “an exclamation to express good wishes when parting or at the end of a conversation.” So many words meaning the same thing… goodbye, safe journey, farewell, adieu, au revoir, ciao, auf wiedersehen, adios, sayonara, bye, bye-bye, so long, see you, see you later, cheers, cheerio, ta-ta, ta-ra, later. Regardless of how you say it, goodbye can be a nonchalant ending to a conversation, or an experience filled with emotion at the end of a life or relationship. I would guess many of us never even think of the word as it slips past our tongue. And then something may happen to make you realize the true meaning of goodbye.
There are certain things in life that happen to all of us, things we can’t avoid even when we certainly would like to. Having an illness and learning the importance of saying goodbye has become one of those things for me. There have been too many goodbyes in my life… friends and family members I will never see or hear from again; except in my dreams.
This past week I had the chance to spend time with a friend who was nearing the end. It seems I have done this too often these past few years. Saying goodbye, saying all of the things you want someone to know, to understand, to be at peace. Each goodbye is different and I often find myself in an emotional void. However, I am grateful for the gift as I learned once more the importance of goodbye. At the end of a life, there are few things left other than love, and this is the message we share. It is just difficult to transition back to the real world of guarding your thoughts and feelings; pretending everything is ‘just fine’.
Illness affords us the opportunity to express feelings that would remain hidden deep within our hearts. It allows us to let others know how we truly feel. It has given me the freedom to say “I love you” to all of the people who touch my heart. It allows me to say goodbye, to wish someone a safe journey, knowing that someday we will meet again. I’m still in a place I often think of as ‘limbo’. Neither here nor there, a place that is unfinished, just waiting. It is a strange yet beautiful place to be and quite difficult to put into words. Oddly enough, the word goodbye rarely leaves my lips these days. I would rather show my love and wish you peace, than say that final goodbye.
So, I’ll leave you now with a few songs I spent time listening to this week as my friend Kelly passed on to the next level. Music has a calming effect like no other thing in the world except maybe human kindness. We had the chance to share a few laughs and songs while saying our farewells. Later today I’ll be at another funeral… I’m getting to be a regular at these things. But, I will be there, because it is important to say goodbye.
The first song, Goodbye by Gregg Laswell, I simply had to include for obvious reasons! Though I will say it’s been in my playlists for a while now.
The second song, Until You Understand by the Kings of Convenience is a song that somehow says it all. Weeding through my iTunes I found it again. I’d forgotten what a treasure it is.
Thank you for listening, until we meet again.
It started with a song…
.. and ended with a smile!