Saying goodbye reminds me a lot of what it’s like being at a funeral. At a funeral, you shed all of your inhibitions that block you from expressing your love for the dearly departed. And everyone else at a funeral is like you, looking to absolve themselves of the things they wish they had said, feeling lighter after shedding that dead weight on their souls.
It’s amazing how much we can make each other feel like we take each other for granted by bottling up our feelings/emotions/desires. Whether we stop ourselves because of fear, rejection, laziness (for me it’s usually fear), we tell ourselves that it’s never a good reason, but it is that great common denominator death that brings us all to that brink. That brink of regret if we choose inaction, if we don’t spill our guts to this other person.
It was always difficult for me to to say good bye, because I never knew when I would see this person again. They could very well die the next day, and I would miss out on saying the things I wanted to. So I often end up sometimes unintentionally hanging out with them for another half hour.
People always think that that’s reason to profess your love for your friends and family on a daily basis, but I do think it means a lot more to go through lapses of loving moments. To feel lonely and miserable makes the day when all your friends get together to express their love for you so much more appreciable and meaningful. I used to think that life ought to be filled with positivity and happiness. But could you explain to me in words an objective/idealized account of what happiness is? You only know it by knowing sadness and everything in between.
Saying good bye is no longer just a sad moment for me. It’s catharsis, it’s renewal, it’s an opportunity for growth. I write this during and after an intense three day period of meeting up and saying good bye to members of a community that I’ve helped build from scratch, while continuing to teach, while continuing to expand the community, and most of all while trying to say bye to all those I want to keep in touch with. I write this after a long period of ups and downs while living in a small city with big dreams for the last few years. I at first thought I hadn’t made much of a difference during the years I’ve spent here in Kingston. But the love I’ve received from so many in the past few days has really driven to heart that I’m doing something right, I’m doing something positive, and I’m inspiring growth in others. Saying bye somehow gives us the courage to say these powerful things to each other in a genuine context.
I write this as a public thank you note to those who dared to show their appreciation. While I love what I do, it is taxing on the mind and body, and it is these moments of connection with others that replenishes and nourishes. Thank you Kingston et al.
Photo by Charles J Gao Company.