Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Goodbye Again

The concept of goodbye is a final thing.  We try to cut the pain of farewells by saying "see you later" instead of "goodbye".  Goodbyes are for finality, for closure, and when we bring ourselves to a place of uttering the words, it symbolizes that somewhere in our hearts and in time a door has been shut that we cannot go through again.

Except that... I do not believe that goodbye is so final.  I revisit it over and over again.

A few days ago, while hiking on a pristine trail in Hawaii, I saw you on the trail in front of me. Mixed in the browns of the dirt and dry plants, the specs of green that clung to grasses, you were there: an almost-perfect heart shaped leaf, bright red, lying in the dust at my feet.  Now there were plenty of your kind of leaves on the ground, but you were the only heart shaped one.  Instantly my mind flickered to the dear friend you remind me of: a beautiful tall blonde with melodic laughter, brimming with presence and life, sass and accents.  So I picked you up in my hand to take with me to keep and press between the pages of my Bible with other leaves and plants I had picked up over the years.

As we walked together, I remembered other journeys of this kind I had taken with her.  There had been other mountains, bigger and more rugged than this one.  We had breathed deeper together than I was doing now, we had gone higher, we had sweated until our eyes stung in one season and shivered and watched one another's lips turn blue in another.  We shared beauty and darkness, laughter and tears, were serious and ridiculous.  A saying we would make fun of was "It was real..." And yeah, it was.

At the end of the trek, I knew that you would not be coming home to be a Bible bookmark or permanent reminder of the day.  We ended at a stream, clear and cool, that journeyed into nature lined with trees and flowers, and ended in the ocean.  That is where you belonged.  And so I placed you there and watched the current carry you out of sight.  And silly enough, I felt emotional about it. Not because I was saying goodbye to you (no offense), but because I was saying goodbye to her again...  And I knew I always would be.  I mean c'mon, if a leaf can surface my love for her then it will happen often. 

In unexpected places, without warning, sometimes inconvenient, but always welcome... I expect to find reminders of her that let us trek on a mountain, laugh at hilarity, wish to hear her insight, enjoy just being... The reality of those left behind is that we live in goodbye, and it makes us sad.  But I am also thankful for simple things that will have me saying hello to you over and over again, until that day when there are no more goodbyes.  Miss you like stink my dear Annie, and love you forever.

1 comment:

dackwards said...

Beautiful. <3