Goodbyes come unbidden, but it is we who choose whether they become a burden or the blessing they were always meant to be.
There have been goodbyes in my life that came so suddenly that I didn’t get the chance to say all the things I would’ve liked to.
My best friend’s death was like that. Alisa was gone in an instant and all the unspoken words between us lingered, forever suspended between one breath and the absence of the next.
Those goodbyes are the hardest. They never quite settle into acceptance. The grief is a permanent fixture in my bones. So much to say, but the opportunity is lost forever.
I pray she knows. My faith assures me that she does and that I’ll see her again. In the time between, I remember and cherish all the memories and all the love we shared. Dwelling on the gift of her life rather than the absence of it makes the grief less demanding and the acceptance easier to hold on to.
Then there are the goodbyes that in and of themselves are a gift. The ones where I’ve been granted the preciousness of time. Time to say all the words, all the “I love yous,” and to foster the peace that’s needed when the end finally comes.
The loss of my parents was like that. And looking back, I realize what a tremendous honor it was to sit beside them. To hold their hands and to say all the words that I needed to say. To thank them for being such wonderful parents, such inspiring people, and for all the sacrifices they so willing made for my five siblings and I.
When the end finally came it still hurt, but the journey through grief wasn’t a burden, it was an honor to carry. Born of so much love that it felt more like a blessing than the loss it was.
We will all pass from this life one day. And how we leave isn’t as important as what we leave behind. I pray that when my time comes, my loved ones experience peace in that final goodbye. I pray that my love and the example I’ve tried to convey, my faith, and my unconditional love for them sustains them through the journey.
That’s all we can really hope for. That our lives have meaning. And that those we leave behind remember us with gratitude. That they’ve had the opportunity to say all the words and all the “I love yous” before we take our final breath. That our loss isn’t a burden to carry, but rather that our lives are a gift to cherish. And that what we leave behind is so much more than anything we ever took from this life.
I carry you with me.
And all these memories,
remind me just how blessed I was,
to have you in my life.
I miss you.
And that too reminds me,
that you were real,
and for a time,
we shared the same space,
breathed the same air,
and I am so grateful
to have been part of your life too.
All the moments, hours, and days
that made up our lifetime,
are the same moments, hours, and days,
that live on in my heart,
and assure me,
your absence is temporary,
that love transcends time,
and I will see your face again,
when we meet once more,
on the other side.
JN Fenwick (© 2022) | mothjournal14