Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~George Eliot
I don’t think anything is more difficult than a goodbye. The worst kind is the permanent (for now) ones. The others are so long for now.
I recently was in hospital for a procedure and I got lost. I ended up in an area of pain and anguish. I heard a wailing, a woman who I knew had just lost. I didn’t need to see her or know how her loved one had slipped away, I could tell by her guttural pain. I desperately slammed my fist against the elevator button somehow to make it hurry hurry hurry…..Stop it, Stop it, stop screaming. Her wails will echo in my ears forever, like a wounded animal.
In that moment the strangest thing happened. I wanted to yell “shut up” to her to quiet my own anxiety. I knew that pain. Of course she was crying at the immediate loss and shock, and for some reason I felt that this loss was sudden, I was in the bowels of the dark cold emergency department of an old hospital, emergency departments have such an air of frantic desperation someone like me I cannot bear.
She was wailing because she didn’t get to say goodbye. Or even worse, maybe sorry. Maybe she was sorry for her mistakes, the way she treated him, or just wanted him to understand.
But her chance was gone. Her wailing was “please give me another chance” but she didn’t have one.
As the elevator finally arrived I bolted into it frantically trying to close the door. There was a medical person in there with me and he laughed at my frenzy. He had the bluest eyes and the most gentle face I had ever seen, in fact I felt like I was blushing, but he had a certain calm about him. He said ” are you late for something”? And I said, “yes, by about 47 years”. He looked perplexed he also noticed my eyes start to sting with tears….. I said “I think I just heard someone die.” He said “yes, you never get used to the sound of the last breath of someone and then the pain of loss that follows.”
Yes, I can imagine. I said. As the lumbering creaky elevator made its way to the ground floor and the doors groaned open I stepped out. As the doors closed the gentlemen in his blue scrubs stopped the door from closing he said to me, “Donna its never to late with the living, don’t waste anymore time”
The door closed. I was so taken aback he knew my name that I looked down at my coat to make sure I didn’t have a name tag on. I wanted him to tell me what he meant, so I pushed on the button to make it come back. Just then a hospital janitor came up to me and said “that elevator doesn’t work’. I said “yes it does I was just in it with another man.” “Impossible” he said, it hasn’t moved in weeks.
I walked in a daze out of the building. Who was he, did I see a ghost?
It then dawned on me what the mystery man meant. Don’t waste another second with the living. Made a mistake? Say you are sorry. Screwed up badly? Admit it. Told a lie? Come clean. Bitter? Forgive. Miss Someone? Call them. Still in love with someone? Tell them. Said some nasty things?….stop saying them, ever again. Don’t worry if someone won’t forgive you or doesn’t want to listen. Just say it. Open your mouth and say I am sorry. Especially if you have the chance with a living breathing person.
You have today, so get over yourself and your crap and be honest with yourself and the people you love. I lost someone very special recently, and two things happened I said too much and didn’t say enough. So my lesson moving forward? There is only one way to live your life and that is with kindness. Period.
And God forbid when you have to really say goodbye to someone wouldn’t it be comforting to know you said all you wanted to say.
So do it now…..there is a week left in 2013, live your life kindly.