Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Goodbyes

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is 'Goodbyes.' Laini told me last week that I needed to get scribbling again, so I felt that I needed to start with this one as it gave my heart a twist when I read it. When you live in one country and your family and most friends live in another, you say an awful lot of goodbyes.

For me there are several layers of goodbye in life. First there are the goodbyes that you say that you don't mean. These goodbyes are the ones that you say when you hang up the phone, the ones that you say when you leave someone at the end of a night out together or when you are leaving a dinner party or work or just when you leave in the morning. These goodbyes are never meant to be final, and they slip off of our tongues without us realizing how powerful the word can be. These goodbyes sometimes become the ones that you wish you could remember.

Then there are the goodbyes that you don't want to say because they mean it's going to be a long time before you get to say 'hello' again. These are the ones that bring tears to your eyes. I say a lot of this kind of goodbye at the airport. No matter where I am going I am leaving someone behind who I am going to miss. A lot of these are shortened by lumps in the throat or foregone all together in favour of a tight hug. These goodbyes remind you of how precious people are to you and how important moments together are.

Finally there are the category of goodbyes that are never shared; the ones you have to keep to yourself because there is no one to say them to. These are the ones that haunt you; the ones that are beyond tears. These goodbyes are the ones that you whisper into a phone when you have already hung up and you know you will not speak again. This is the goodbye that you say to a gravestone or a silence or that you whisper into the wind. This is the goodbye of unfinished business or regret or sudden loss. This is the one that echoes in your ears as you lie in bed at night. It's the one that you long to have been heard. It's the one that alters your life.

Sometimes I wish that we lived in a time where we could use the word, 'farewell' instead of 'goodbye.' In a fantasy book that I wrote I ended with one of my characters saying, "Farewell" and then finishing up with, "Until we meet again." I feel like we take our partings for granted. Shortly after a friend died I came across this Irish blessing and I loved it. It's a bit religious and old fashioned, but all it really means is, 'I love you, I wish nothing but the best for you and please take care of yourself so that we will meet again.' So now if you and I ever meet in person and then we have to say goodbye, please know that what I really mean by that is this:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

P.S. My surgery went well, thank you! I won't gross you out with the details like my Dr. grossed me out with the evidence!


Paris Parfait said...

It's a beautiful post about farewells (I prefer that word too) and "The Irish Blessing" has been framed in my parent's house for as long as I can remember. Am glad your surgery went well (although I'm sorry to say I didn't know anything about it - hope you're feeling much better soon!) xo

Cate said...

Meg, this post really touched me--it seems that much of my childhood was marked with the airport goodbyes that you so eloquently described! You brought it all back, made me remember how hard it was (and still is) for my mother, who moved to the US from N. Ireland when she was 22.

Like you wrote, "goodbye" slips off of the tongue, without consideration for the power of the word (beautifully put, BTW!). I love the idea of "farewell," and I adore "The Irish Blessing." Such a comforting message.

Thank you for your wonderful words. Farewell, friend! xo

P.S. Glad you are feeling better!

tara dawn said...

So true...I love the way you wrote of all the different forms of good-bye. And that Irish's one of my all-time favorites. I had forgotten of it in recent times...thank you for the lovely reminder.
Miss you love...glad the surgery went well! Let's definitely catch up soon.

Alexandra S said...

I'm glad you are ok Megg. Can you send me your email address to so I can write you?
& this was a beautiful post truly. I think the most painful goodbyes are the ones we don't want to say but know that they are for the best. Even though my ex husband is stil one of my best friends saying goodbye to the marriage part was so hard. Thank god there are plenty of "hello's" too throughout life, like ours last year!

Bongga Mom said...

My husband and I live far away from our families, and we are used to saying the airport goodbyes when our parents visit. I think it is just as hard on our parents, who never know if they will be well enough to come again and see their grandchildren.

gautami tripathy said...

Yes, we say a lot of goodbyes, a few are just that, meaningless and others wrench our guts...

Saying goodbyes is never easy.

Thanks for this post, Meg. I am glad to be part of SS.


GreenishLady said...

I loved this post. Thank you so much.

Colorsonmymind said...

This really touched a tender part of me Meg-as you always seem to do:)

A goodbye really can have such a unique meaning.

Saying goodbye in the airport in Seattle was so difficuly for me, as I felt like I could use more time talking and sharing with all of you.

I am missing you

bee said...

you are exactly goodbyes are so, so bittersweet - and it makes me wonder, why can't we bring more of the emotions we get at goodbyes (the sudden realizations of how much we are going to miss and how much we love that person) into more of our daily life?

Frida World said...

Yes, yes, and yes.

A couple of years ago I started going to the airport by myself, I just didn't like it as a place for goodbyes.

But hellos, yes, I love airport hellos!

Now days I can say farewell at the airport, and I do - over and over and over again.

Thank goodness for those hellos!


Stacy said...

"The goodbye of regret"----- very well said.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I prefer the word farewell too. The sadness of unspoken goodbyes and the beauty of that Irish blessing.

Anonymous said...

This was beautiful and very moving...especially the section about the goodbyes that never get heard. Those are the very hardest.

And, oh, those airport goodbyes are wrenching, especially now that family is also saying goodbye to Madam! I get choked up just thinking about it.

But like Frida said, I prefer thinking about airport hellos. I need to remember that they are ALSO part of the process.

Star said...

I'm so glad your surgery had a positive outcome.

I found this week's SS topic challenging. Easy for me to get mired in the sadness and tears.

Amber said...

Beautiful SS. I am happy you did it! (As i haveno worked up the guts to try this one. Yet.) Because what you say is all to true...


KG said...

Glad your surgery went well!

Your last paragraph before the Irish blessing (beautiful!) brings up some interesting points...which I happen to answer in my "goodbye" post (about why and how we humans avoid goodbye) — I love when this blog synchronicity happens! :)

luzie said...

I'm also glad to hear your surgery went well.

I love this post so much because it resonates how I feel about goodbyes, it expresses so well what I couldn't put into words.

(And I heart Torquay because that's where I went for my first language travel ten years ago. It was my first time in England ever. I had a wonderful host family there and have gone back to visit them twice already. It's such a beautiful part of England..)

susanna said...

I've had to say all of those Goodbyes and you've described them so perfectly, Megg. My favourite goodbye of yours is the last - "I love you, I wish nothing but the best for you and please take care of yourself so that we will meet again." I'm thinking of Someone as I read that.