Saying goodbye


 Goodbye (or its many variations) is a word we say all the time.  When our partner leaves for work, when you leave the office for the day. When it’s time to leave the pub after perhaps one too many…

But it’s only when it’s a harder goodbye that we really think about what we’re saying.  Dropping someone you love off at the airport knowing you won’t see them again for months.  That type of goodbye hits hard.  But you do have the hope and belief that you will see that person again.

But goodbye has changed for me lately…. I still have all the daily “bye see you later” goodbyes for my friends and family.

But then, there are the much harder goodbyes, where I know I won’t see that person again in this life.  And over the last weeks I’ve had to get through a few of those goodbyes as my friends from overseas have visited me (you know who you are and I love you).

And it’s so painful and so hard and heart-crushingly awful and feels so unfair.  I’m there hugging someone and not wanting to ever let go.  But I have to.  And then they disappear around the side of our house and that’s it.  And there’s no solution other than to sob.  And then try and console myself with the existence of Facetime and Skype.

It all makes me wonder if we should consider our goodbyes more carefully, treat them more seriously.  I used to have this silly superstition that I could never let someone go or say bye to them if there was some kind of negative feeling in the air (we’ve all slammed doors after an argument, or hung up on people we’re angry with).  I’m not a paranoid or superstitious person at all normally, but I hated the idea of that being our last goodbye somehow.  So maybe that was my preparation for my current situation.  Who knows?  But I reckon it’s worth thinking about what bye means to us all and seeing what we discover.

Anyhow, after thinking about what it means to me, I’ve decided I prefer the French “au revoir” as with that there is hope that I shall see my loved ones again.  Maybe not in this life, but, if I’m lucky, in the next.  I can but hope.




  1. lynda · · Reply

    Hope you have had a good day Lou xxx

  2. Alison · · Reply

    I have just read your blog through from the beginning and have cried. I know that is not what you want people to do but I am so annoyed that good people have to die young. There are so many evil people in the world that all I can hope is that the best is yet to come on the other side and that is why God takes such special people like you early.

  3. Just read the Daily Mail….OK I admit it 😉 Lou’s Story now is immortal – It’s Official!
    ….And it will stand out forever as one of those precious few ‘damn good reads.’
    I can’t wait to see your photos the Rankin exhibition in Liverpool. I know you’ll be there looking a million dollars and clutching a pint.
    A Bientot cherie. X

  4. Kitty Brennan · · Reply

    Dear, dear Louise – all you say is so right, so good. You make a difference – your life is one of great value to all who know you and to the many more who have read your blog.
    Tu vas rester pour toujours dans nos coeurs.
    Je te dis “au revoir” tandis que je pleure.

  5. It feels weird ‘liking’ this but showing my appreciation for your sharing this. Feel for you with all my heart x

  6. I lost my mum to cancer when I was just 5 (11 years ago), and I’ve never really thought about what she would have been feeling at the time. Thank to your story Lou, I at least have a small incline about what it was like.
    A wise man once told me this: ‘A ‘goodbye’ is for when there will be no traces of one in the other’s life, but not for when there is memories and blessing still present.’ You will be in people’s thoughts forever more Lou, as an inspiration to everyone around you. This cannot be a goodbye.

  7. Yvonne. · · Reply

    Oh my God Lou, you are amazing! I promise you this; I am going to take your musings and make some small but very important changes in my own life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings – I feel priviliged to know you through this blog. Much love to you and Al, and your family and friends. Bye for now xx

  8. Jacqui · · Reply

    You never should have to say goodbye, when we least expect it we will be together again. My heart could break for you, your journey has changed not only my life but many others too. Keep being who you are Lou and hang on for as long as you can even when you think you can’t. With much love and hugs for you both.

  9. Chelseagirl · · Reply

    I have been reading your blog and it brought so many memories for me… My husband passed away 5 months ago, aged 34, from cancer. Today is my first birthday without him. We have two beautiful children aged 1 and 6 and we miss him so much. Keep the faith and make as many memories with your loved ones as you can… Sending big hugs your way… and remember, it is not ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you later’ xxx

  10. Marshall Cordell · · Reply

    Hang in there L. We’re going to some fringe shows in August. Yes. See you later. xxmarshall

  11. Sylwia · · Reply

    Stay strong Lou ❤

  12. Sally · · Reply

    You really, really should know how wonderful and inspiring your blog is.

    From a sunny Sydney, Australia

  13. Fortitude and determination has got you this far against all the odds and all credit to you for that for you would not be who you are without it. Despite the fact we havent seen you for a very long time doesnt mean that you are not in our thoughts. XX

  14. So sorry to read of your situation Lou. You are an inspiration. In case it might help; when my beloved cat Nimue died a very thick peace came into the room which the Vet and two others also felt. We didn’t grieve much because we knew Nimue had gone to a beautiful place. Best wishes and love, Alex

  15. Keren · · Reply

    You are inspirational. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your words with us, when time itself is so precious. Your words have made me stop and think – thank you for that. I wish there was something I could give you back – I’m sending you strength.
    With love X

  16. Maggie · · Reply

    Hello Lou, I felt compelled to send you a note from the other side of the world – Australia. I was so touched when I discovered & read your blog. What a brave & hilarious person you are! I come from a crazy Scottish family & I can certainly see that skewed Scottish way of looking at life in you. Every day is precious & is an amazing gift, & you are so inspiring in the way you are living your life! I send you love & prayers, & positive energy across the seas. Take care my love, Maggie xx

  17. Victoria · · Reply

    You write so beautifully. I want to read all your posts and have been inspired. I’d never heard of thistle before and think Diane spotted u straight away as an excellent candidate to hire. I think you’re creating a legacy. With love. X

  18. I just found your blog and your words ring so true. I’m across the pond in New Jersey and I set up a WordPress account (today not tomorrow – live for today) so that I could say thank you. Thank you for reminding all of us to cherish the time we spend with friends and family. Thank you for reminding us to appreciate the dawn of each new day. You’ve reminded me to say the “I love you”s and “thank you”s that are are long overdue. I believe life is not measured by its length but by its meaning. Some people live 75 years as angry unpleasant people hating those around them. Others live 10 short years, radiating love and joy to all around. I’d much rather be the latter than the former. I believe your life has touched so many in such a profound way that it is filled with meaning, if not length. Small consolation, I know, when you are feeling things I cannot imagine nor relate to. But I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for touching me. And my wife. And my sister. And both of my boys. And yes, I will be donating to Thistle. They are a worthy organization if I have ever seen one.

  19. Mirjam · · Reply

    Dear Louise, today I hope to bring a smile on your face by letting you know your moving words are also read in Thailand. My heart goes out to you. Keep strong.

  20. Clare Scott · · Reply

    Trying to type with floods of tears…just remembering having to stop that final hug, to pull away against a force thats saying don’t let go. To blew a kiss to you, turn around, to say those words and walk around that corner was the hardest moment in my life. I love you more than words can say. Xoxo

  21. Dear Lou, thank you. You have me stop, reflect and want to be a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, aunt, work colleague and person. Thank you. I lost my mother 10 years ago and like someone said, you’ve given me an insight into what she was going through. I wish I knew then what I know now. But then again I know she knows. God bless and keep you safe. I will be following you closely. Xx

  22. Lorraine sutherland · · Reply

    lou you are an inspiration and you should know how much you are giving to others by writing your blog. I salute you and send love and warmest wishes.


  23. Hi Lou,

    There is a lot of evidence that what you eat is very important in controlling cancer. Here is a You Tube clip which explains more. I hope it helps you.

    You show strength and courage in your journey with cancer. You are inspirational!

    Very best wishes,


  24. Simone Blanchard · · Reply

    You give so much strength to others.

  25. Hi Lou
    I just read your blog, it’s extremely touching to see someone with such a positive attitude under so much hardship, your an inspirational lady in my mind! I am writing to you from Sydney Australia, really the other side of the world, I am from Christchurch New Zealand. Keep your chin up, thinking of you.

  26. It feels unfair because it IS unfair. I wish you didn’t have to go through this. And I wish you didn’t have to say these good-byes.
    I know we don’t know each other, but I am sending you gentle hugs… xo

  27. Michelle Waho · · Reply

    You will Louise see your loved ones in the next life if you are a Christian Jesus promices forgiveness and life eternal you only but have to belive in him and that he died for your sins. ask Jesus to come into your life today, now? the choice is yours. you are anamazing lady my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  28. Kevin · · Reply

    I just learned of your blog from a Daily Mail article and must express my gratitude to you for writing and sharing your feelings. I have some challenges of my own and so am interested in how people meet their nemesis, and hope to find some help and some strength from other’s experiences. I am trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, for I have had a very nice life, and find Stoic philosophy of some help. My ancestors come from Scotland, and I always enjoy the calendar from The Scotsman, even though I now live in the Arizona desert. So when I think of you, I will think of the wild and beautiful Scottish countryside, and I hope you continue to find some peace and even some satisfaction in your journey.

  29. You are an amazing woman, Lou.

    So depressing for me reading the second story today of vibrant, beautiful women suffering from cancer and I just wish there is something I can do to make it better, make you better and make cancer disappear forever.

    Sending lots of ehugs your way from Nigeria.

    I LOVE YOU LOU, even though I just ‘met’ you secs ago.

  30. Gemma Suttie · · Reply

    I try to tell the people around me what they mean all the time. I believe everyone should or at least try too. Not enough love up in this place!!!

    So on that note sending you lots of love and much needed (on my part) hugs!!! X x x x

  31. Emma Hart · · Reply

    After reading your blog from start to finish last night, I have spent a good part of my day thinking of you both – you are an inspiration. Wishing you all the strength in the world. Emma xx

  32. Joanne Halliday · · Reply

    Your blog is amazing and so beautifully written! An inspiration to many thousands of people out there who have cancer. I send you all my love and hugs 🙂 xxxx

  33. Giffin family · · Reply

    Lou, you are remarkable. You’ve shared very precious thoughts with us and we’re all the better for it. Thank you. You’re a model in many ways! Andrew had one of his most memorable evenings with you in Glasgow and won’t forget it…..even if the dancing didn’t go on to 4am! With all our love. David, Leslie , Andrew, Chris and Nicola

  34. Kevin · · Reply

    Just ran onto a note I had made at a quilt exhibition, of all places, of a Japanese proverb about mortality, among other things: “I have always known that I at last would take this road, but yesterday I did not know it would be today.” Wherever you are on that road, best wishes and warm thoughts.

  35. Lynne Learmond · · Reply

    Louise I am going to write your name in the sand and decorate it with shells when I am up in Dornoch; a special place for us both. I am not saying goodbye I am saying Hello Louise the sun is shining today just like you. Lots of Love Lynne XXX

  36. Rosie · · Reply

    You are an amazing, beautiful, inspirational lady, Louise.

    Send warm healing hugs your

  37. Hello Louise,
    I found your blog this evening (you like to know where people read your blog from: its 9.56pm and I am in bed with my laptop in the olive grove hills about 35K from Malaga, Spain – its cold and been pouring with rain today) via the BBC news. What fabulous photos, what a wonderful honour to be allowed into your thoughts and feelings, what an incredible process you have allowed yourself to have – I feel overwhelmed and yet somehow joyous. That may seem a shocking thing to say but joy is what you mostly talk about in your blog – thank you for bringing joy to everyone who is around you, even if we merely appear on the “Leave a Reply” your blog. With my warmest wishes, S

  38. Melanie Alexander · · Reply

    Dear Louise, what a beautiful and courageous blog. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and blessing so many people.
    Something I wanted to bless you with – there is hope. There is hope. I pray God will reveal himself to you through this painful time. He is the source of all our hope because of his son Jesus.
    Love and prayers,

  39. Daphneuk · · Reply

    Hi Louise, Thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful heart with us, well with me. My soul has been both shaken and warmed by your words. I’m only writing this because I have one thing to offer you. That is hope. Ok, two things hope and prayer. I had a profound spiritual experiance in 2007 when to cut a long story short God said “hello” to me. : ) I heard his most beautiful voice! GOD IS REAL!” I have a feeling you are a woman of Faith. Keep trusting and never let go of God’s hand Louise! He is very close to you. Death is a passing short moment after that Eternity. This life has nothing on the next. Praying for you, husband, family and cat! x

  40. Jools Bonds · · Reply

    Dear Alan and Lou, I have just come across your blog and my heart goes out to you both. I just wanted to let you know that we have a very good protocol for those with terminal cancer. There are no guarantees of course but we know of someone who was given a month to live with a brain tumour and 3 months on he is still here and doing much better. We can send you everything you need for it for free and they at the very least will do no harm. At the most they could slow down the cancer. Please get in touch and I’m happy to chat about it. Warm regards Jools

  41. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know you, but I will never forget your story. Rest in peace:'(

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