How does one say goodbye well?
As I prepare to move to another city (an island, to be specific) and another school, this question courses across my mind. Even after years of moving from dwelling to dwelling, I am still in the process of finding the answer. Places and houses — physical entities — are easier for me to depart from, as I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of unpacking, breathing life into a new space, and gazing out a new window. But souls and memories are far more difficult to leave.
As human beings, farewells permeate our lives. We cannot dwell in one place forever, nor can we always have our friends and family physically near. In view of our transient lives, we should allow ourselves to process the grief of parting, cherish dear friends and memories, and enter a new setting with grace.
Mourn the Death of a Chapter
Saying farewell implies the closure of something. It’s critical that we process the sorrow of this closure. Not all friendships can endure physical distance, so we can mourn the end of friendships. We can mourn the demise of a familiar setting. We can mourn the stability of routines. We can mourn the walks and simple beauties which tinged our lives with wonder.
It’s simpler to crowd our emotions into a box and thrust it into our closets. To label it ‘later’ but only return to add more, never to sort. In doing so, we feel internally cluttered and unable to face life in a sensible manner.
Thus, to myself and to those who are in flux, I plead that you take the time to sort and mourn. Journal, converse with a close friend, grieve the death of a chapter.
Treasure Those We Leave Behind
Even in the lament of farewells, we can cultivate gratitude. We can cherish the relationships we had and the memories we inhabited.
For me, bidding farewell necessitates written, as well as verbal, words. It’s easier for me to express my thoughts succinctly by pen, so I crafted cards and letters for the friends I will be leaving. Writing cards or letters provide an excellent outlet through which we can ponder how others have influenced us and express our esteem for them.
For those who find it difficult to express their feelings in words, actions — a look, a smile, a hug — can prove just as meaningful. As I write this, I’m reminded of Roman Holiday and *spoiler* the farewell scene at the close of the film. What a poignant goodbye it portrayed. There was sorrow conveyed but, also, love and truth. These, I trust, are the characteristics of a good farewell.
Transition with Grace
As we enter new epochs in our lives, difficulties and growing pains may arise. However, as we confront them, we should remember to grant ourselves grace. The grace to become accustomed to the change of pace, setting, and people. The grace to breathe and know that we are changing too.
You are free to Loosen your shoulders And start over. You are free to trust: There will be heartbreak, And there will be lows, And there will also [be] A thousand little ways In grace, you will Continue to grow. ~ Morgan Harper Nichols
Has there been a person, a dream, a place you’ve had to say goodbye to recently? How did you bid farewell? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. I love to hear from you.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night I hate to go and leave this pretty sight...