On “so long” and “farewell”

Everyone has had to say goodbye to someone at some point in their life. Sometimes it’s unexpected and sometimes it’s long, drawn out and painful. Goodbyes hurt something awful. And they are generally not happy occasions (if they are, you should be worried).

But what do we do then? One option would be to shut off your feelings, talk and connect with nobody and that way, you miss nobody and there will be no pain at the point of separation…

But let’s face it – that’s no way to live.

Human beings are social creatures by nature. We thrive when we can connect with other human beings and find companionship. That’s why we make friends, seek family, fall in love – we need connection to survive the harsh cruelties of the world.

And “goodbye” is one of these harsh realities.

It hurts to think that one day, this person whom you’ve been meeting up with, seeing, loving, knowing was around for you is just… not there any more.

And this counts for room mates moving away, workmates moving jobs, break ups (good and bad ones), friends falling out, deaths of loved ones, losses of pets… the loss is pretty similar.

The fact is that this person is still important to you; the memories of your time together, the reality that things won’t be the same again… it really does suck for both the one who leaves and the one who stays.

And the absolutely worst part is that you really can’t avoid it. Loss has to come.

That’s just how life is. You get good things and you get bad things in no particular order. In a way, surrounding ourselves with so many other people is like building a house. The stronger and bigger your house, the more comfortable and secure you feel with a storm brewing.

Making friends and connecting with people is a bit of a double edged sword, but one that, if you think about it, is worth it in the end.

The people in our lives don’t just serve the purpose of chasing away loneliness, but of also teaching us how to be and about who we are – at least, those really worth knowing do.

So the goodbye is inevitable, because nothing in this world is permanent. The hurt may last a long time, but it is never permanent. The only things that can remain with us are memories which are a far cry from the relationships we had, but are good enough anyway.

And with modern technology, all we have to do is reach out so nobody is really ever too far.

But goodbyes can also be the start of a new beginning. Looking at the bright side can seem like an impractical thing to do in the face of all the yuckiness going on with your emotions, but that’s how we survive – the only way we can. We live on hope that even though whoever left is gone, you’ve picked something up (whatever you can) and you have forged forward in hopes that things will get better.

And very often, they do.

What you should do is keep the good memories. You hold them close and hide them away in your heart. You ride the waves of the open sea of life clutching at them like a life preserver and in the end, you become a better person for it.

Although you understand that it wasn’t a perfect relationship (not always rainbows and sunshine), the good times were more important than the bad and that was enough. It’s that pain that makes us human. It shows that these people were important to us.

It also shows that even if life moves on, they will always be important to us.

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