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.