We've probably all had that moment in our lives when we casually said goodbye to a friend, or a family member. It didn't cross our mind that we might never see them again. And then after they passed away, we wished that we could have said goodbye more properly. We wished that we would have told them how much we loved and appreciated them, and how much they meant to us. But we can't go back, and that moment is gone, and we are left with the regrets of not having said goodbye in a more meaningful way.
Once I had a dog with cancer that had to be put down. I knew I would not see him again, so I fully took the opportunity to say goodbye, and make that "goodbye moment" count. I have always been grateful that I had that moment, and that I could have that closure. It's not usually the same with our human friends. We never know if we will see them again. And although age and health often play a part in increasing the odds that they might not live long, those aren't guarantees. Quite often, the young and healthy die before the old and feeble. There are no guarantees that we will see any of our loved ones again. We might not get that chance to properly say goodbye.
Now at this point, some people might write that we should always say goodbye properly in case that person doesn't live. I do believe that, but I have another thought about this as well. I have had those experiences where I didn't say goodbye properly, and then the friend died, and I was left with the memory of our last encounter and how I didn't say those last words. But I'm okay with that. The summation of our relationships isn't in our last conversation. The summation of our relationship is found in the quality of the bond that we formed. Our relationship isn't defined by whether or not we expressed all of our love and appreciation to them that last day. Whether or not those words were said, people know by the connection we have built over the years whether or not we love and appreciate them. Those things can be expressed without having said the words at our last meeting. Those things can be expressed by the way we connected with them through the years. Even if we didn't say that final "I love you", they know by our actions if we loved them.
I actually don't like goodbyes. One time I left a city, knowing there was a chance I wouldn't return. In the end, I didn't return, and we moved away. I never said goodbye to our friends there. I actually really liked doing it that way. It wasn't intentional, but I liked not having to go through the goodbyes. Those who were my true friends have kept in contact with me, and I with them. The rest will have memories of me, just like I have of them, and if we do see each other again, we can have a pleasant conversation. And if we don't, we can just think on the memories that we have.
So I guess what I am saying is that goodbyes are highly over-rated. It doesn't have to be the time to finally say what we feel or the time we tell people we appreciate them. Those things should be said on a regular basis, not at our last meeting. So if you haven't had the chance to say goodbye to a loved one, don't despair. They know by a lifetime of experiences how you felt about them. You don't have to say it one more final time to make it true.
Check out what the other consortium members think about saying goodbye:
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit, Black watertown, The Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)