Goodbyes Are A Way To Connect

15th century adaptation of a T and O map. This...

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Self-Care Tip #184 – Respond to your goodbyes deliberately to be friendly to yourself.

One of the Regional Centers that I work at is closing their telemedicine clinic.  This means I’ve said goodbye to many beloved patients and their families, whom I’ve worked with since round 2003 I think.  Saying goodbye to people we respect and enjoy is not as casual as we stylin’ people make it look.

Two days ago I said goodbye to my girlfriend of around five-plus years and her family.  Moving far far away makes the flat world feel lumpy and luminous.  I now have all her leftover food and knock-offs she didn’t want to haul across the lengthening world to remind me that she is gone.

Watching parents and/or grandparents age is also an exercise in saying goodbye.  My parents have a hard time making it over to visit on week-ends for all the funerals they go to.  Their calendar sends over that whispering voice that they are growing old.  “Look,” it says.  “See me.  I am aging.  Time is connecting and taking me with it.” Even so, their essence holds its own, apart from Time.  That makes me feel more comfortable.  When that whisper gets louder I may respond differently, I can’t know until then.  But for now, this is good.

“Goodbye” is something that begs a response.  “Oh yes!  Goodbye!  See you later.”  I even say, “See you later” to people I know I have less than one percent chance of running into again.  The word calls to me and I respond.  The word implies a disconnection, but even so, beckons us to connect.  It spreads us over the space of our time shared and into the future apart.  Peanut butter and jelly, it sandwiches us up with the one who says “Goodbye” when we say back, “Until then.”

Today with these people and remembering all the ones I won’t get to see before my contract ends, I feel the pull to respond.  My response can be something deliberate.  It is another bit of something I get to choose.  I hope it will connect me.

Question:  How have you responded to the goodbye’s in your life?  How has it been a connecting force for you?  Please tell me your story.

12 thoughts on “Goodbyes Are A Way To Connect

  1. Some goodbyes are easier than others. I wish you a smooth transition. It’s like a new chapter in life. I don’t particularly like goodbyes, some are tearful, and some are even awkward. Your post will have me thinking for a while.

  2. Good byes can be either very painful for me or way to easy, most likely because of my BPD mind. Learning the boundries in connecting and seperation has been a long and no way over journey for me, that is for sure.

  3. Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. Richard Bach

  4. Goodbyes can often be painful when people don’t try to stay in contact. But, they are good because we see who really cares. You never know who cares until you don’t see them for a while and they still put the effort into talking to you. It’s nice to know when a relationship was real.

  5. I always make a “big fuss” about a goodbye whenever possible, not to be mushy, but just to affirm to that person that the relationship meant, and still means a great deal.

    This is particularly true when people need to go away for work and in extreme cases leave the country,
    A mature and definitive “goodbye” can help anchor them in the new reality that they suddenly find themselves in.
    I see a proper and meaningful”goodbye” as a neccesary and often overlooked ritual in the rushed context of modern rushed society.

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