This is the coldest, longest winter I can remember in many years. Maybe it is because of my age - my young boys have loved our recent chill that brought with it a large snow pile. I am trying to look forward to spring and summer but haven't seen many signs of it coming soon.
I want to say good-bye to winter. However, good-bye is not one of my favorite words. But after all, life is full of good-byes. With spring hopefully fast upon us - with the school year soon ending, graduations, trips and reunions, with all the beginnings and endings we will face - many of us will need to say good-bye numerous times.
As I have learned throughout the years, you never know how important spoken words are until you regret not saying them. As a woman who recently lost one of her best friends, I feel I must share the importance of a genuine good-bye. A good-bye avoided is an opportunity missed. It is an opportunity to share how important someone is to you. I almost missed that opportunity, but heard a voice inside that I needed closure.
I recently lost one of my dearest friends from college and it has taken a long time for me to write about it without getting over emotional. His name was Corey and he had a brain tumor in 2003, which he survived. However, in 2011 it returned. He courageously battled it for 10 months until it took his life in May of 2012.
I traveled 10 hours by car to say good-bye. In his dying hour, his wife and family shared with me his wonderful outlook on life. Even though at age 42 he died of a brain tumor, he never complained. He was a man of deep faith and believed that every day he was given on Earth was a gift. He smiled. He was good to people and he was happy. He didn't get upset because he was dealt a bad deal. He didn't feel sorry for himself or get upset or discouraged. He was strong.
My friend was an inspiration to me. He had a moral compass that always pointed him in the right direction. He was a great example to me on how to treat others and he was always willing to forgive friends and family when they let him down. He had many wonderful gifts, and even though he was one of the most gifted artists I had ever met, I will forever admire him for his loving, caring and inspiring spirit. Saying good-bye hurt.
Saying good-bye is never easy
but one must always remember
does not mean forever
and there will come a time
when again we can say
Hello. ~ by Katie Bajdek
Everyone has to say good-bye at some point or another in life. Then something amazing happens. Time passes. The ache doesn't go away but it becomes more manageable.
Before losing my friend, I was sort of an escape artist of saying good-bye. I dreaded it and avoided it as much as possible. Thank goodness I outgrew that immaturity and learned a lot about saying good-bye after my father passed away.
When you have a loved one in your life who has failing health "see you later" or "take care" is not truly saying good-bye. It doesn't honor the time that was shared together or the connection that was made, no matter how brief or long.
We need to remind ourselves, instead, to take time and be emotionally present for a genuine good-bye. We need to bring closure to any significant person by giving thanks for what we shared.
With gratitude for the laughs and smiles and deep genuine love for his friendship I said good-bye to Corey. I cried and smiled at the same time. Friendships like that don't die. He will forever remain in my heart.