I Never Can Say Goodbye

As I write this, one of my friends is preparing to bury her father. One had to fly out of town unexpectedly to do a welfare check on her father – he had died in his home. Another spent last weekend cleaning out her dad’s house to ready it for sale. One cancelled our girl’s weekend because her mom and stepfather are failing and could go at any time. None of this is funny – unless I say something like “the common denominator (seriously – a math reference? Do we even teach those anymore?) is me – stay away from me or your parents will die. Which really isn’t that funny.

I am pretty sure it is because most of my friends are around my age – which means it is just a timing thing. My blogs have become a little farther apart as surrounded by all of this is not happy at all. Just because death is a normal part of life and all that crap, doesn’t mean I have to talk about it all of the time. But, since I’m thinking it all of the time – it is all I can write. Bleck. At least I stopped writing about the ungraceful things that happen to us as we age. (Just because I stopped doesn’t mean I am done.)

I have always hated goodbyes. Always.

I don’t like to say goodbye on the phone – funny – I must have learned that from Dad – it used to drive all of my friends and family nuts – Dad would just hang up the phone when he thought the conversation had come to an end. Seriously – a few friends have admitted to me that they do everything in their power to try to make him say goodbye. My sister and I just laugh about it. We also laugh about the things he does say. Like once, he ended his conversation with me like this, “I still love you.” She and I giggle over that all of the time. Sometimes we say it to each other. The sad part is, that tiny joke will be lost in a few generations. Maybe he didn’t like goodbyes either.

I don’t say goodbye on the phone, either – but I don’t just hang up. I say things like, “I’ll call you. Call me or have a good day. Try not to kill your kids, your husband, your dog.”  I’ve already told you I don’t say goodbye at parties. When friends leave, or when we part – I never say those actual words. I don’t like people to leave – ever. (Okay – sometimes. People who let their kids eat strawberries on my white couch. Or, assholey relatives.)

Maybe I think it is because I won’t see them again. Maybe because it hurts. The friend who is getting ready to bury her father told me she wouldn’t say goodbye at his funeral. She was going to wish him peace and happiness. What a beautiful idea. It doesn’t bring tears the way “goodbye” or “say hi to Mom” does. It is hopeful, it is positive. And, not only is it a great way to not say goodbye – it is a great thing to wish for yourself and the others left behind.

You never know when someone’s words will enrich your life. It happens to me all of the time.