I hate goodbyes.They always feel awkward to me. Whether it’s a friend or family member, a lover or coworker, I just never feel right saying the words. They feel so sad, so final. But the worst kind of goodbyes are the silent ones. The end of the good movie when the lights come up. The end of a concert when you know the band isn’t coming back for another encore. When your daughter stops driving you crazy and drives away in her 1st car. When your child stops playing with his toys and starts playing on his new cell phone and when you watch as your lover walks away and you feel… scared and alone.
I have had all these goodbyes and more I’m sure that I can’t even recall now and all left me with a ball of ice in the pit of my stomach. I’ve often wondered if this feeling of loss and sadness comes from early childhood drama or a better description, trauma. I tear up merely thinking back to those dark places I shudder to revisit.
I remember a warm evening when the sun was setting through the Oak trees, casting a golden glow and throwing long shadows on the ground. I was waving goodbye to my dearly loved Grandpa through the back window of our old station wagon. I had spent another summer with my grandparents and with tears streaming down my cheeks, caused by the uncertainty of not knowing when I’d get to see him again, I felt heart-broken. Only to find out later that same month I wouldn’t see him again in this life time. I remember clearly my hysterical mother telling me the news of his death while brushing my hair into painfully tight pig tails. It was the worst words I thought I’d ever hear.
At seventeen I kissed my father goodbye on his temple absent-mindedly missing his cheek as I floated passed on my way out to some party or to see my boyfriend. When the phone rang the next day and I heard muffled conversation followed by “you better get home your dads dead”, these words quickly took 1st place in the worst words you’ll ever hear category. I drove home in shock, all the while trying desperately to remember my last words to him. Did I tell him I loved him? I couldn’t remember, but prayed I had.
I think these times in my life are what started my dread of saying goodbye. Somewhere in my mind, some small place locked in some little corner, goodbye means forever or my current perception of forever. Some ghost passes through my body and I feel a sudden dread. Most of the time it’s fleeting, other times I want to hang on to the moment and not let it pass. Linger in it as long as I possibly can before anyone notices.
As a grown woman I know this is all my own manifestation and is totally without reason. Yet the little girl in me wants to hang on for dear life to what matters most, moments. I want to drain every last-minute of life from each moment I have with the people I love. Sustaining somehow the feeling that I may not have tomorrow the way I have this moment. All I really have is right now and I want to feel it deep in my soul and remember it later in its full perfection.
I said goodbye to my ex-lover tonight. Not verbally to him, I never actually said the words. I don’t think he would have believed it had I spoken them. Not after all the years that have passed between us and all the angry goodbyes we’ve had. No, this was a much deeper, heart center release. I felt the ice slowly forming in my gut as I set down the phone. My inner child screamed “you may never see him or hear his voice again”. So I wished him a silent fairwell… and that made all the difference.