Saying Goodbye

November 8, 2010

It’s never easy saying goodbye to a loved one or friend, when they are leaving for a very long while. It’s almost similar to when a person’s dies, though in reality, that person will return and it’s nothing that final. Even if that person was to move away and you would never see them again, it’s still not the same thing as an actual death, but it can feel like one. :-/

But for the less dire of situations, of when a friend or relative is leaving for a long while, but plans to meet up with you again someday later,  saying goodbye can still be very painful. I believe that the persons involve have a sense of mourning for the time they will not be able to spend together, even though the time loss is only temporary. And it can and does feel like real grief, in a way.

I’ve had my own experiences with saying goodbye three times before. The first time was with my oldest brother, who went into the Army when I was age eight. Before he had left, he was always a huge part of my life, always looking out for me and talking with me. I remember spending afternoons, sitting in his lap, and watching tv, sometimes laying my head on his chest and listening to his heartbeat. He was always kind and ready to fight off any bullies I had. Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, he was leaving with a bunch of military guys and carrying a duffel bag. My mother woke me and my sister from our sleep, to say goodbye to him. I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t, and I was confused on what was happening. I asked my mother, “He’s coming back tomorrow, right?” She cried and said no, that he was leaving for a very long while. And he didn’t come back, until I was twelve years old.

The second time I felt the loss of goodbye was age twenty-six, when my sister went away in Job Corps. It’s a training and education program in the US, for those who don’t know. She was going to carve out a better education for herself and gain lots of employment opportunities, in another State many miles away from home. But that was the first time EVER that her and I would be without each other. I had never traveled far from her and vice versa, at that point. So, as my mother and family-friend loaded her stuff into the car, she turned and we faced each other. I said with a shrug, “So, you’re leaving now.” And she said, “Yep.” And I said, “Well, I guess I’ll see you.” She said, “Yeah, see you later.” And that was that, she left. But we later told each other the truth, both of us wanted to cry and breakdown at that moment. I was stuffing my tears and pretending to be cool, she did the same thing. We never said the word “goodbye”, though. We both couldn’t. :-/

The third time, I was at age 27 and soon to be age 28, a year after I had got my life back on track. I had just met a funny, charming, and awesome guy who was quickly becoming my best friend. I had only knew him for a month, but suddenly he got an promotion at work! I was elated for him! But, in order to take his new job seriously and to settle into it, he was going to have to leave the site that we frequented, for a long while. I hated to say goodbye, so I didn’t say it. Instead, I wished him lots of luck! I didn’t hear from him, for four months. And when I finally did, I felt so very relieved and happy! And he’s the one I talk too much about. :-p

Now, saying goodbye has come up again. Pretty soon, I’ll be in that awkward spot again. But, that’s part of life. People sometimes have to leave, then come back, or don’t come back at all.

But my greatest fear of all time, is a person leaving without giving me the chance to say goodbye, even if it’s not the actual word. Like in the case of my sister and I, when we both said, “see you later”.

Ever since 9-11, I have this fear of never being able to say goodbye to someone or to tell them I love them, before they leave this earth for good. So many people weren’t able to say goodbye to their relatives and friends that day, not knowing that it was that person’s last day. I always want to say something to those I love and care about, whether they are just leaving for the store or traveling across country, because I know that no one is promised tomorrow. I never like to say goodbye, but I will say things like, “See you later!”, “See you tomorrow!”, “Be safe!”, and my personal favorite, “Drive safe!”. It’s my way of saying goodbye, without the sting to it. And it’s my way of knowing that if something horrible  should happen, I did get a chance to say goodbye, as morbid as that seems.

But it keeps my mind at peace and causes less worry and anxiety for me. To a person, words like “See you tomorrow” or “See you later” may mean nothing to them, just an everyday expression. But for me, I’m really saying to that person, “Goodbye, I love you and I care, and I wish for you another day.”

So… Drive safe, everyone. ;-)




  1. I understand.
    Having lived through terrorist activities where it seemed like every other day someplace you had family had been hit and having friends severely injured in such outrages, it does leave me feeling scared that those whose company I love may be gone before I’ve had the chance to finally say how I feel toward them. It’s as if all you’re left with is this fragment you’re holding on to. Desperately.
    It’s not a question of being what the right word – clingy – more the insecurity in a troubled world.
    So like you saying “I love you and take care” are not the shallow pleasantries that for others they may be but rather more “If you were gone tomorrow, I’d want you to know this”.

    Hugs, Caroline.

  2. Yep, Caroline. You put it in better words than I did, once again. lol.
    It is an insecurity in a troubled world… and wow, is this world ever troubled! :-o
    But, it’s not an insecurity that has to be a bad thing, either… as for as insecurities go. I don’t think my friends or family mind it when I want to wish them well, before they go. :-)

  3. OMG! This sounds exactly like me. I always try to say something nice like “hugs” or “I love you” when I send texts or e-mails. I have a fear that when someone leaves it might be the last time so I always try to hug or at least say something nice. When I was younger I was always afraid that something would happen to my mom or sister and I would be alone. The fear still haunts me, but I can manage to worry less about my loved ones. I guess there are too many stories of people that regret the last words said to someone they love. I would hate to be one of those people. I know it would torment me forever.

  4. Yep… I never got to say goodbye to my grandfather, before he passed away. I did regret that. But the thing of it is, I did find peace with that too, in time. So, it may torment you forever, but then it may not. Who knows? :-)
    But it’s so awesome to know that I’m not alone, in my “madness” of needing to say something good and nice to someone, before they leave. :-D

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