Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Pain of Goodbye

It seems that goodbye is a recurrent theme for so many people both today and just recently. While some are saying goodbye after the death of a loved one, others are saying goodbye in the midst of simply parting ways, neither of which is easy.  On the contrary, goodbye is most commonly associated with pain in the heart, tear stained cheeks, and remorse over things left unspoken.  As I make peace with my own internal, as well as outward, goodbyes, I'm reminded of how difficult it is to move forward in the face of sadness, pain, and despair.  How, then, does one ease the painful sting associated with goodbye?  Though there's a general psychologically appointed process of grieving, I believe the best way of easing pain is by remembering, not just subconsciously, but deliberately and purposely.  So often, we think our pain will subside when we forget who or what it is on goodbye's other end, but I think we have that wrong; I believe the best way to ease our suffering is by saying to the person or situation, "I will remember you, now and always."

I recently bought a ring with an inscription from Helen Keller that says "All that we love deeply becomes a part of us," and when it arrived in the mail yesterday I immediately put it on, only to later banish it to my jewelery stand.  Initially overcome with a desire to remember all that I love deeply, but to what and whom I've said goodbye, a matter of only moments later I opted for trying to trick my mind into forgetting as I placed it securely back into it's newly found home.  I've discovered that for every effort we put forth towards forgetting something or someone we love, we're working futilely against time's ownership of our memories.  If Helen Keller was right and who or what we love deeply becomes a part of us, then to forget the recipient of our goodbye means also to forget a deep part of ourselves where love resides.  This is not a part of yourself you should aim to abandon; instead, embrace it, increase it, and recognize it for the fountain of life that it is.   Don't ease the pain of goodbye through a determination to forget.  Choose to remember.

"Well, you don't know how painful my goodbye was.  I'll never see or talk to him again, and forgetting is the only way I can move forward," you might reply.  Well, it may be true that I don't know the pain of your own goodbyes, but I can promise you wont move forward if your goal is to forget.  You don't forget love, you feel it, you recall it, and you live it.  You don't bury love when death takes your loved one's body, you transform the ways in which it is outpoured.  You don't outgrow love because love doesn't decrease in size and you never become bigger. You're here to fill it's cup.  When you choose to forget the pain of goodbye, you're ultimately choosing to forget the beauty of hello. When you push the memories to the back of your mind, you're trying in vain to stop an agent that wont be stopped.  Love will be stopped no more than will time.  Don't forget; remember.

To whatever person, circumstance, or place you find yourself saying goodbye, remember that whatever pain you feel could not exist if not first touched by love's hand.  If you believe in the beauty and fullness of love, then believe that it's worth remembering. Don't live in the past, but choose to remember it warmly.  Move forward, but don't forget, and to the love that now finds you hurting, say to it "I will remember you."

"Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time."   Anna Louise De Stael

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