the art of saying goodbye
somehow I always thought saying goodbye grows easier and easier with time. but unfortunately it hasn’t. not even my nomadic lifestyle has taught me to fish the perfect phrase when departing.
but some experiences have taught me about the fragility of life.
yesterday was such a reminder. yesterday was a strange day. while for others it was just another day. two friends of mine lost a loved one. just like that, from one moment to another. no warning signal, no sickness, no time to prepare for the goodbye. expired.
some goodbyes happen too abruptly or so unexpectedly that it leaves us startled. others are more of a have-a-good-life while most are more of a see-you and too many even go unnoticed.
how many times do we say a simple bye assuming to see each other again?
but what if we don’t?
I grew up in a culture that neither has an elaborate welcome, nor goodbye custom — usually a quick how-are-you or take-care while throwing two or three kisses on the cheeks. sometimes it all happens very intimately, softly or joyful, but then there are also these extremely quick and superficial ones, hissing air and avoiding even the slightest touch. But I feel like a lot of goodbyes in daily life have become shallow.
Leaving me surprised and wondering why this is so. maybe the online lifestyle makes us believe that everyone is only one click away no matter how far our golfs are. Therefore what is left of the value of a goodbye? Or have we become so oblivious about life?
But who promises me that we will see each other again? We naturally assume it and of course should live on a positive tune but nevertheless there is no promise. There is no control over that. And maybe — despite all our desires, expectations or longings — you or I might not be there tomorrow.
I believe a goodbye is like a closing ritual — more technically spoken like shutting down the system — closing that shared time of togetherness. It happens in the here, not in the later. Only in the here.
But what is a goodbye?
What is the value of words if there is us?
Embracing someone — usually referred to as a hug — holding each other in one or two arms — is a gesture of union and inclusion. Feeling the warmth of the other person, breathing in, feeling the pulsing in my hand lying on your shoulder, feeling how your clothes cover the shape of your body, breathing out, experiencing your nearness. Again breathing in your warmth and smell. Your very own delicate smell. Notable in that short moment. Breathing out. Thank you that we were together. Thank you for being. Stay healthy and safe.
If we loose the awareness of each other’s preciousness then I fear the essence of being alive will also go lost?
The art lies in the pause. In the gap. In the void. Where I appreciate You.
“Sensitivity is nothing else but the presence which is attentive to the world and to itself."
- Simone de Beauvoir -