How Do You Say Goodbye?

Funny, I've noticed that I don't blog nearly as much as I used to. Mainly because I thought no one was reading them when I wrote them. Now that I know people do, I find myself being less vulnerable and writing less often. But it's inside of me. It's always inside of me. Even more lately. I get a bit sappy before a trip. I think deeper. I feel deeper. I live deeper. I question.... deeper.

Like how do you say goodbye? To your best friend of 60 years? Knowing you have weeks with him. Maybe days. How do you say goodbye to your kindred best buddy in high school when a freak accident snatches him from your life. At 17. When you feel like you can't even breathe?

There are so many kind of tears. It fathoms me. Tears of fear. Tears of relief. Tears of disappointment. Tears of embarrassment. Tears of wonderment. Tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of loss. Deep loss. Stomach pitting loss. Grief is its own animal. And its been surrounding me the past few weeks. Seeing young lives lost suddenly that were supposed to live for decades. Seasoned lives slowly coming to an end and the anticipation that surrounds that. The time to say the things you need to say, do the things you need to do, and the knowledge that death is imminent.

This past week I prayed fervently for the life a teenage boy. After a tragic accident. Before he died. Tears of loss. Questions of purpose.

Today I watched the two wrinkled hands I blogged about a few weeks ago. I watched them all day. Not just their hands, but their eyes. Their tears. Tears of sorrow.

I watched love in action all around them today. Acts of honor and love in the form of a warm peach cobbler, in cleaning out a fridge, in writing a heartfelt letter, in the colorful drawings from the heart of a grandchild, in a yard being mowed, a memory being told, a tear being shed, a hand being held, an eye being wiped or a breathing treatment being tenderly given. I watched.

I watched his sweet grand girls coming over to give him the pictures that they had drawn especially for him. Him looking at them, barely able to see them, and then closing his eyes in silent tears.

I watched love surrounding me today. If it were a colorful cloud, I would have been blinded by it.

I saw it from a far this week. 100 amazing kids just being with the best friend left behind. Precious heart. Incredible young man. Just sitting with him. Being with him. In ICU rooms being decorated in school colors. In donations being given to the cause of adoption in honor of a life.

Life's death being honored through living love.

C.S. Lewis: "If, as I can't help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation, then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love."

When it's all said and done, I go back to this. The sorrow we feel would not be sorrow at all if it weren't for the love played out from the precious memories. And if what they gave us, what they taught us and the person we are because of them still lives -- have we truly lost them at all? And doesn't that somehow mean that a part of them still lives? And as we live out their fingerprints they have placed on our souls in our own lives, touching others along the way, doesn't that somehow mean a part of them will always live? Maybe? 

"I want to move my bed in with his. When they move in the hospital bed, I want my bed to be in the room too. So I can sleep next to him. So I can be next to him."

Tears. More beautiful tears. Tears flowing out of a love that some rarely experience. Especially for over 60 years.

 

How do you say goodbye to your best friend? You don't. You just don't. You live for them and they live through you. You carry them around with you when you remember that thing that only you both would smile about. When you see that special something that causes you to think of them. Or you remember that special lesson that they taught you. You live out a deeper understanding of how you are a changed person because of them and you touch other people with their fingerprints.

 

Knowing that your heart would not be broken if it had not been loved. And it's that love that you live off of sometimes.

 

And until then?

 

Maybe you sleep with them. Beside of them in the same room. And slowly..... day by day.... say goodbye.

 

For now. Just for now.