Saturday, February 03, 2007


Thoughts on Goodbye(s) are many and varied. Goodbyes are almost invariably sad, sometimes heart wrenching, but at the same time, I believe, desperately important. Important to closure, vital to moving on with one's life.

The following is a poem I wrote some 40 years ago when I was a junior in high school after the end of an only-just-budding romance which I still perceive as the most potentially serious I had in my first 18 years. Writing the poem gave me the closure I needed; as much as I ever got.

"Fare well," I said,
for that did seem to say
the things I felt.
For it was not "Good Night,
I'll see you soon again,"
Nor yet a cold "Goodbye."
I could not say, "Good luck,"
and not be trite.
"God bless you," he would
Neither understand nor like.
And so I said, "Fare well"
And longed to add,
"My darling," and a kiss.

There are so many ways to say good bye; so many shades of meaning. There are the words, sometimes very hard to say; but beyond that is the emotion and the process of separation which still must be traversed. This is true whether the good bye is an unwanted / regretted separation, or one which should improve the lives of one or both parties involved. I believe the hardest goodbyes of all must be those when the loser(s) is denied, by whatever circumstance, the opportunity for the face-to-face good bye.

I must admit that my take on this post has been reshaped somewhat by the events and news of the last 55 hours or so. The tornadoes that devastated Lake county Florida--I grew up there, from age 5 to 17; it was my home of record for longer than that--- although, blessedly, not harming my family there, have certainly tortured my heart.

In the middle of an ordinary Thursday night, rain and thunder came--these are not unfamiliar to any Floridians-- but this time families lost parts of themselves with no chance to say good bye. A mother and her 8 year old son escaped but her husband and 7 year old son were found dead in the wreckage of their home. Two teen-aged girls lost the brother who was their triplet and both of their parents. A 29 year old man awoke on Saturday and asked his wife to tell him that all of Friday had been a horrible dream, but the agonizing truth must be acknowledged, the bodies of his mother, his sister and his 8 year old niece were found in the decimation of his boyhood home.

Goodbyes. These ordinary people didn't get to say any goodbyes. But the real agony of the separation, of this unexpected and unasked for end to loved ones and to life as it had been, must be dealt with and survived.
Feeling blessed by my own good fortune, I would like to do something to help these hurting strangers suffering from their losses and stolen goodbyes. However, I simply feel helpless.


Blogger paris parfait said...

Thank goodness your family and friends were unharmed. My prayers are with those people who survived and must now pick up the pieces, both literally and figuratively. I've lived through a major tornado and a major earthquake. I think doing so gives one an appreciation for the fragility of life; that we must take advantage of our time and always cherish our time with loved ones. I never leave my husband or my daughter without telling them I love them. Your poem as a young girl expressed a lot of emotion in a few words.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Cate said...

I applaud your mention of closure, and your poem perfectly illustrates how difficult that can sometimes be. I love the poem--like Paris says, it packs much power with a few words!

The situation in Florida has produced many awful stories. I nodded emphatically when I read this line in your post, "the hardest goodbyes of all must be those when the loser(s) is denied, by whatever circumstance, the opportunity for the face-to-face good bye." I'm so glad that you and your family are okay.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

"Closure" is such a cliched term for a vitally important aspect of our lives. I'm happy, like Cate, that you talked about it because there are times for all of it when it must be achieved.

As for Florida . . .I have no words. It is just too much to contemplate.

3:22 PM  
Blogger sarala said...

I hadn't heard of the tornado. Those poor people.
Your girlhood poem is well done.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Kamsin said...

I saw the item about Florida on the news here, it seemed somehow unreal the way it happened overnight. So glad your family were OK.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Just Expressing Myself said...

So glad to read your family is okay.
I find that I need to "write things out" too. Actually I've been trying to work my poetry muscles lately - they are very stiff though.
Thanks for sharing

9:25 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

this is beautiful. i lik the closure poem.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Yummyteece said...

I love the poem. It's brief, yet eloquent and powerful.

As to the tornado, my first thought when i heard was to worry about family in the area. Glad to hear that all yours are safe, but am sadded to read your report of those that were lost.

11:46 AM  

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