Why Life Is A Series of Goodbyes

Photo by pixabay

Photo by pixabay

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” the song goes. That’s why life is a series of goodbyes. And that’s tonight’s Blogapalooz Hour topic – writing about a goodbye in life.

As is always the case when I read the night’s topic that we have one hour to write, I can see multiple directions the writing could go, and I have trouble picking just one thing to write about.

There have been so many ways and occasions to say goodbye. There’s a finality to that word. It does conjure sadness. I’ve permanently said goodbye to my parents and other people I’ve loved who are no longer on this earth (reminds me that my mother hated to say “good bye.” She would only say “so long”).

Sometimes the goodbye seems a little less harsh, and is just part of moving on in life. I’ve said goodbye to the small town I grew up in, schools I’ve graduated from, two dorms, an apartment, a townhouse and jobs I’ve moved on from. You can still visit, but it’s true that you can’t quite ever truly “go back.” Truth be told, the lack of being able to do so has some very strong positives. Sometimes life, even when it was excellent, it isn’t right to attempt to relive too much. It’s time to move on.

Getting back to people. The only permanent goodbyes are for those who’ve left this world: saying goodbye to my parents hurt the worst. I was only 11 when mom died and 22 when dad died. But I truly expect to see them again someday…so perhaps it wasn’t goodbye after all.

In general, I don’t say goodbye in any permanent way to people. I may have felt the need – rarely – to move on from a person who was toxic, or someone it was too painful to be around – but for the most part, I always come back to people or they come back to me. I hate bad blood, and I long to feel connected to everyone.

As I think more about it, truly the only permanent goodbye to people I’ve made is the ghosts of my babies and toddlers.

I will never again see my daughter’s little eyes examine my face the way she did when she was only hours old. Or watch her run and pop up and down like she did when she was a toddler. Or do her hair like I did when she was in kindergarten or third grade (it was in third grade she wanted to take over doing her own hair). I can do her hair now – if she’d let me – but it’s not the same.

I won’t feel my son cuddle his little warm body into me and snuggle to nurse, or fall asleep next to his toddler body wrapped in blankets and pillows. I will not hear his little boy voice in person again.

I’ve had some other tough goodbyes in addition to my parents’ passing. One of these was saying good bye to perfect health. I have had an autoimmune disease for a few years now that is currently managed well. But it’s not the same as when I didn’t have it.

While it’s heartbreaking to not quite be who you once were, I’m trying to reconcile my feelings about it and look forward to the future.

With my kids, it’s bittersweet. I love watching them grow up and become a young woman and a young man. It’s exciting, exhilarating and energizing to see them come into their own.

They are completely different people in so many ways from the infants and youngsters they were.

I still get glimmers of who and what they were – they sometimes watch favorite TV holiday specials or movies with me from years past, or we do some of the things we did when they were young, like drinking tea or reading through childhood books.

I treasure old pictures, videos, art projects, papers, music and sports programs and even test scores. I don’t really want to travel back to the baby and young kid days per se, but I truly WOULD love the chance to go back in time and have an hour, an afternoon or even a day with my kids when they were very young.

For these reasons, I don’t regret staying home with my kids. That was something I NEVER thought I would do. But I did it for more than 12 years.

And now I have a picture book – physically and mentally – of my kids growing up. In fact, I’ve always taken a mental “snapshot” in my mind of each of my life’s experiences. I saw it all, as much as I could, both at home and volunteering and simply watching school, church and extracurricular activities.

I immersed myself in them. I am poorer financially, but richer emotionally for the choices I made.

Perhaps life should be measured by “Hellos” because they seem more pleasant and positive. They do lack a certain poignancy, though. Hellos are charming, but they are “new.” They have no history, no intimacy, no story, in most cases. But goodbyes are meaningful. They stick in your heart.

“I don’t know why you say goodbye when I say hello” another song goes. Maybe because “goodbye” with it’s finality makes us want to hang on, to live the memory again, to never forget.

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