12.1.18 - Every Time We Say Goodbye

Dear Sweet Babe,

I want to talk to you about goodbyes.

Goodbyes are very hard.

Since you’ve only been on this planet for such a small time, you may not yet have noticed the uncertain nature of goodbyes. When people leave you, you just see them go and don’t really have much worry over if or when they’ll return…ah, the bliss of youthful carelessness.

But, the thing is, goodbyes and endings are emotional tie-ups. When it’s all said and done, people tend to want catharsis and a bow placed upon your time with them. Since people don’t know what will follow a goodbye (if you’ll meet again, if you’ll continue to be friendly, if you thought the same about your time together and will tell your story the same…etc.) there tends to be a lot of emotional pressure put upon them.

This pressure has lead me to become fairly good at avoiding goodbyes. I slip away from parties when they become too slow, covering that I am just wanting to get some sleep, but truly afraid that the mixture of alcohol and feelings will lead me to do something foolish. When a contract or a job is over I slip away without a goodbye, terrified that I will have to hear how others truly hated me, now that there is no need for pretense since we aren’t working together any longer. When I left my home, I waited until I was the last bird to fly from the nest, and I filled my every moment with tasks to prepare for my departure, and distract from an adieu. I ensured that g-ma and g-pa wouldn’t have to face the burden of my emotions, and I wouldn’t have to leave with them telling me the “truth,”…that I really was a terrible burden that they were happy to be rid of. These fears held me back from exploring what the truth could really be: goodbyes are acknowledgements of what others mean to you.

If you face the fears you have (that you aren’t worthy of other people’s affections, that everyone really doesn’t appreciate you, that you have been a burden…etc.) and acknowledge the falsehood of such fears, then you can move onto what goodbyes can actually be. Goodbyes can be a moment to look at a person that you’ve shared something with, that you have been through something with, and acknowledge the appreciation you have for their presence. It doesn’t even have to be an acknowledgement of a positive influence someone had on you. Sometimes the acknowledgement can be of how someone challenged you and, through that challenge, helped you grow. Sometimes the acknowledgement can be of how someone helped you to see your flaws and address them, as they had shown what you most dislike about yourself. Sometimes a goodbye can be an acknowledgement of the passing of the torture of being around another person who, for some strange reason, didn’t like you…unfortunately, there are always going to be people who don’t like you. But, a goodbye can be a moment to acknowledge the past you’ve shared with those people and the future that is now possible because you are parting ways.

Y’see, everyone we encounter changes us, in small or huge ways, and every way that another person changes us is significant. Change is how we grow. Struggle is how we change. Often, through others is how we struggle the most.

So, take a moment to remember: we are changing. We are growing. And it’s all thanks, in part, to how we say goodbye.


Erik SchneiderComment