As excited as I am about living in my new home closer to our three children and two grandchildren, saying goodbye has been emotionally draining. Yesterday, I said goodbye to co-workers. By evening, I was laying on the couch, energy depleted.
Goodbyes don’t come easily for me. I’m struck with dark thoughts like – I’ll never see this person again, never engage in conversation with them. Yesterday at work, I feared being swept away by sentimentality, maybe weeping uncontrollably like I did at my graduation. I come from a long line of crybabies and I blame them for the maudlin gene, especially the Irish side.
In my imagination, I hear my close Scottish friend’s advice, “Get a grip on yourself. Of course you won’t see most of these people again. We’re all dyin’ you know. Did you forget that?” Then we’d laugh and she’d remind me of her husband’s favorite rendition of goodbye – “Shove off!”
Nobody at the office told me to shove off. They dripped kindness all over me. The memory of their hugs clings to my shoulders, a reminder of how blessed I am to have people in my life who make saying goodbye so hard.
Goodbye is a useful word. We use it when we fly out the door to run an errand or to end a telephone conversation. We wave it, blow kisses with it, and even slam doors with it. But there’s no getting away from it – some goodbyes are permanent.
Snoopy summed up my feelings about the word goodbye.
“Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”
Goodbye is a short form of the phrase “God be with you.” That’s what I really meant when I said goodbye to everyone at Community Living Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie.