“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
― J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973)
How on Earth do I say goodbye?
When I cannot control whether I shrink or cry,
What is this life that pains us so?
Funny that it’s only in pain we grow!
Amidst a season of goodbyes, times when intimate fellows and kindly ladies, having spent years together have to say goodbye to their context, there is the untouchable emotion. What is this emotion? Is it sadness and grief? Yes. Is it joy and relief? Yes, too. There are a bunch of emotions that cannot quite be defined in a dictionary or expressed via any vocabulary.
In the event of goodbye we experience the profusion of emotions. No wonder that many of us cannot cope with the reality that is cast for us.
Many of us will, on the occasion of the goodbye, find something with which to medicate ourselves; something unhealthy. But the nexus of the moment’s healing is in coming close to the feeling by sitting in it, though it seems strange, unnerving, even somewhat surreal. Who can understand such a mysterious thing?
The Gravity of Goodbye
Goodbye has about it the resonance of eternity; there may be no returning, no coming back. But, equally, goodbye is a chance for something new – if that new thing is worthy of embracing. And even if it’s not, there may be no choice. So it’s wise to understand the enormous power in the sweeping reality of goodbye.
Goodbyes have gravity about them. They change our emotional landscape. They transcend our vision and they transform our strength into weakness.
Saying goodbye may have slightly more power about it than in the pure receipt of it, but goodbye levels everyone eventually, and great is a person’s wisdom who respects the power in goodbye.
When we learn to say goodbye – and we can accept the powerful emotions that come – without resisting them via denial, anger etc – we stand to thrive.
There are some tears that are healthy for the soul. Saying goodbye implicates such tears, for grief must be expressed if we are to ultimately move on. Tearful goodbyes are merely the recognition of the truth that something wonderful has ended. Better to mourn the end than deny it occurred in the first place.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.