There are two types of goodbyes - the type where the people are upset to leave each other and the type where the people are very happy to part ways. This article is about the goodbyes that make your heart constrict because you don't want to leave the other person... or you don't want them to leave you.
For such a small word, it has a huge impact on people. Some people like saying goodbye because it gives them a sense of control over the sad situation. Others dislike the word because they know (from past experiences) that their friend, roommate, son, or husband might not make it home that night due to a traffic accident, a drive-by shooting, or something just as horrific and unpredictable. Some of my friends prefer saying the words "See ya later" as a substitute because it hurts less.
But saying goodbye doesn't have to hurt if you say goodbye right.
Please end your conversations with love. We get so angry at each other over matters that lose importance when we acknowledge what actually matters in life. What matters to me is letting people I care about know that every single time we are together. Sometimes, I fail miserably at this because I make the wrong choices with my explosive feelings.
For example, in high school I remember getting really mad at a guy-friend of mine over how he judged me for living out my faith. I remember yelling at him in my garage one time, wanting to get through his thick skull that he was hurting me, and I slammed a door in his face. (I bet some of my friends are laughing at this, wondering how this version of Brooke is even possible. My only response to that is I've changed a lot since high school.)
But seriously, what if that had been our last conversation? What if he died, and my livid face was what he pictured of me in his last moments instead of our memories of admiring mansions we will never afford to buy, snacking on popcorn and watching a sports documentary, or giggling while we shoot basketballs in my driveway?
People will say things that make us swoon, become angry, and think more deeply about what actually matters in life. No matter what, leave each conversation with a heartfelt goodbye. I hope it is only a "See ya later" situation, that you will actually see each other again. I hope that my friends leaving right now for St. Louis, Texas, Colorado, Milwaukee, and more are going to stay safe enough so I can see their beautiful smiles again, hear their lovely voices again, and joke about our goofy shenanigans again. Leave them with a hug, your favorite memory of your time with them, an inside joke, or a kiss on the cheek. Say goodbye right, and it won't hurt as much.
Let me take you down memory lane for all the goodbyes that we have probably said sometime in our lives:
~At our first sleepover at a friend's house, we had to say goodbye to our parent(s).
~On the first day of daycare, our parent(s) tearfully gave their precious kid over to the care of someone else.
~Our first day of school. I was so pumped for kindergarten, I think that made my mom extra sad. I just wanted to puzzle with my new friends, okay? Plus there was a bubble machine outside, it was a very festive occasion for me.
~Saying goodbye to a middle school classmate because the job one of the parents had moved the friend away from you.
~Our departure to college (if that's the route you took after high school). It was liberating, but also very intimidating.
And if we haven't already, soon we might start saying goodbye to friends who move to different states/countries, our parents if we get married, or older family members who pass away. My best advice is to say goodbye right, which means letting all the small things that get in the way of love disappear from our conversations.
One more piece of good news. Our technologically advanced age offers plenty of ways to stay in contact with each other even when we aren't in person with our friends and family members. Some people had to wait for the Pony Express to get their mail. We only have to restart the wifi, which doesn't take long... most of the time. So really, we have lucked out in this century. I guess goodbyes don't have to be so bad after all.