We Should Say Goodbye to People like It’s the Last Time We’ll See Them
Some people have the luxury of saying a proper goodbye to people they know before they die. I understand that on the face of it ‘luxury’ might not seem like the most pertinent word, but hear me out.
Imagine if a person who you loved, or were at least partial to — having shared a few or many memories throughout your lives — got run over one day on their way to work. Or they suffer a major heart attack and die before even reaching the hospital. The fact of the matter is that the last time you spoke to them, which is likely a goodbye or some form of severing statement, was often uttered in the expectation that the goodbye would be temporary.
Of course, we all die, and this is an ignorant notion, but we’re human. We expect that we’ll see people again — that goodbyes are temporary. The more permanent goodbyes we tend to save for the hospice or hospital bed. Though you suffer the slow build-up, the agonising wait, when they release their grip on life you’re glad you were there. And not only present, but that you had the chance to acknowledge their fears, their anxiety, and assure then that they will not be forgotten, that their life had meaning, and a whole variety of other assurances that a mind close to death might panic about.
So when the cord is cut, it’s a clean cut — not just for them but for everyone standing by that bed.
Admittedly, saying goodbye to someone like it’s the last time you’ll see them would result in a number of funny scenarios. Two women going for a coffee, suddenly spending half-an-hour saying farewell to each other, having a good cry about the potential ending of their relationship. Some friends leaving a bar at 3am, and suddenly the sun is coming up, the kebabs long gone, as they lament on their time together, drawing together every single thread of memory that they possibly can think of in order to validate their existence as defined by the matrix of their relationships. Even leaving the house for work, and saying goodbye to a significant other. You’d never make it to work.
And so, to that pearl of wisdom — everything in moderation.
Add a little extra meaning to your farewells, goodbyes, adieus. Don’t just yell one as a passing remark when you are leaving for the shops. Don’t skip them entirely, don’t give a half-hearted hug, don’t be afraid to say “I love you” a little more often than you might be prepared to say.
At least then if you or they cark it unexpectedly, what needs to be said already has been said, and what needed to be tied off has been done so cleanly and neatly.