To Say I Hate Goodbyes Is An Understatement.

It well may be,
That we will never meet again,
In this lifetime.
So let me say before we part,
So much of me,
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me,
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have re-written mine,
By being my friend… ― Stephen Schwartz

“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”
Maurice Sendak

I hate goodbyes. I detest them. For me, there is the sinking sense that an experience slipped through my hands. They are heartbreaking for me. I think this is largely because so many of the people I love, I only see about once or twice a year (if I’m lucky). With that, there is a condensed and powerful amount of happiness, validation, and love stuffed into a short period of time.

Then it ends.

I have always hated goodbyes. When I was growing up, I hated when family gatherings would end. To help me better manage my emotions around goodbyes, my mom told me to say “see you later” as opposed to “goodbye.” She said there was a finality in the expression goodbye.

Recently, Mr. Beard’s best friend came to visit for a week. It was a great time. As he prepared to leave, I looked over at Mr. Beard to see if he was going to get emotional.

I asked him if he was sad that his friend was leaving and he replied, “No, I’m glad he came.” I was shocked by his response (I’ve been with him for eight years so I should not be that shocked). I said, “But, now he’s leaving and you don’t know when you’ll see him again!” as I fought back tears. I wondered out loud, “Why aren’t you crying?” and Mr. Beard responded kindly, “Because, I’m not sad.”

This response did not register with me and I imagine I tilted my head like my dogs do when they hear a foreign command. 

It’s fairly simple, I want to be around the people I love all the time. I jokingly suggest that we should all live in a commune together. I am well known for my expressed emotionality and sentimentality in my relationships. I understand that my friends are dispersed all over the country living fabulous lives. I would want nothing else for them. I know it is impossible but I want it anyway. I think that’s okay. My emotions are not rational.

I try really hard not to make people feel bad about my emotionality related to goodbyes. I understand that many people are like Mr. Beard and do not find them to be as devastating as I do. My irrational emotions could make people feel guilty for leaving and that would be unfair and unintended.

My brain knows that you have to leave but my heart really wants you to stay. I try to lead with my brain, but my heart is a commanding force. I know you have to go back to your lives. If you give me a few moments, I will pull it together. I will miss you, and I think that is okay too.

Love.

“It’s the emptiest and yet the fullest of all human messages: ‘Good-bye.”
Kurt Vonnegut

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