Goodbyes are convoluted and strange things.

Some goodbyes can come from a place of pain and sorrow. Two friends who have worked together for years, and now one is moving far, far away–and it’s the last day they will work in the same place. Oh, they will still always be friends, but this goodbye certainly changes the nature of their friendship as it morphs into another shape, more nebulous, less tangible and not as easy to grasp.


Or the goodbye we say at a funeral, the quiet moments surrounding any loved one’s death. This one-sided, mournful, hollow goodbye cried out into the unknown. Some believe it may be heard and that we will meet again, but on this earthly plane, those tears, that goodbye can no longer be shared with the one that is gone.


And there are angry goodbyes. Maybe two of us agree to say goodbye and both feel the heat of the word between us. When we turn our backs and decide to walk away, cut our losses and be done. But sometimes one takes the brunt of goodbye from another and is left standing alone and bereft of all that once made them whole. These are devastating goodbyes. These are almost worse than death in some ways as they are not finite so they leave us feeling in some ways this duplicity of hope and inadequacy.


There’s just the simple goodbye: see ya later, bye bye, adios, au revior, ta ta… Like I’ll see you tomorrow and it’s no big deal. The thing to remember, though, is that we never know about tomorrow and what can happen. Things can suddenly change and maybe tomorrow won’t come. Maybe we won’t get the chance to say goodbye.


So then, goodbyes hold all this meaning depending on how it’s used. Β That old saying of ’till we meet again’ is something we should keep in mind, maybe replacing goodbye with it. And even if we’re angry and want to walk away, can we do it on a positive note: take a deep breath, remember the good times (if there were any) and close the chapter peacefully? It’s not always possible or practical, but when it is, it builds good karma one would hope.

I will close with one of my favorite goodbye (of sorts) speeches of all time. Because, maybe this is, after all, just one big dream. And when we wake, well…who knows??Β Maybe all the goodbyes won’t be necessary as the scenery is different and the actors all still live and are part of your company. Yes, yes….maybe it’s all just been one bad dream……

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.”

A Midsummer Nights Dream–By William Shakespeare


On that note: merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!


17 thoughts on “Goodbyes

  1. This is a bittersweet piece as I seem to be saying goodbyes more than hello’s at this stage of life. And they are big ones, these goodbyes. So I shall continue to strive toward accepting with grace the inevitable……and work on creating new hellos.πŸ’–

  2. That is the speech in Dead Poet’s Society. My heart is breaking now. But I liked how you differentiated the different types of goodbyes. I’ve been saying some goodbyes lately realizing my life has taken me in a different direction then some of my longest friends. That’s like a slow goodbye that you don’t realize you’ve been saying until it’s already over.

  3. Yes, now that you mention it, he did quote this in that movie. But, of course, the original is from the play by Shakespeare! πŸ™‚ I love it. Poor Robin, he has said his final goodbye…well, not really because we can always remember him through his movies and say hello to him every time we enjoy him. In some religions they say every time you mention someone gone, they are still alive. I’m sorry about your goodbyes…these are the sad ones: leaving dear friends. But they will remain inside you! xo

  4. So true. But with every goodbye/death…there is always a new birth/hello. So we can cherish these as you say and be grateful. We know that we must accept the final goodbye for us all and take it with grace as you mention. A dear friend I just found out has found out he has terminal cancer…but from what I hear he isdignified about it. This is just him all the time! This is a lesson we can all learn.

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