I hate saying "Good-bye."
I guess few love it, but I hate it with a passion.
Which is unfortunate, because my work involves a lot of good-byes.
I meet residents in the last season of their lives. The season may last surprisingly long, but inevitably, there is a time to say good-bye. And it hurts.
"Maintain a professional distance. Protect your emotions from this kind of pain." I am professional, but I'm not about distance. These incredible, interesting, special people open my heart and come inside, making me vulnerable when the time comes. The best I can do, after a time of private grieving, is to closely gather the memories of who they were and cherish them. I am always enriched when they leave, and always bereft.
Even short, temporary good-byes are difficult for me. My husband is away for the weekend, fishing in the bush with his son. I'm glad he was able to go, glad they are together and glad he is having fun. But I miss him, and will be glad when this good-bye is over.
Some good-byes change everything. When I had to say good-bye to my first husband after 30 years of marriage, I was left confused and disoriented. His death changed my status. I was a widow, and I didn't know how to be a widow. Everything about my life changed, and for a time, I spun in emotional circles, trying to figure it out.
I began thinking about good-byes because this week, I am facing another one. My supervisor is leaving to further her education in another country. This is a great thing for her, and I think she is brave to take on this huge challenge. She will be awesome. But a selfish part of me wants to stand on a chair and scream, "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!" She is incredibly smart and gifted with people and has a huge heart of compassion. She has become a friend, which is odd, because she is 34 years my junior. But there you have it. Tears flow just thinking about it.
The thing about good-byes is that they are a reminder to us. Take nothing for granted. Every relationship is a gift to be cherished. Open your heart and give yourself today.
Tomorrow you may have to say, "Good-bye."