I’m good at Good Bye.
I must have somehow learned the acceptance of the impermanence of life early on when my mother died or perhaps it’s leftover from another life. But make no mistake — I am good at good bye.
When my children were small — I put them on their school bus with a smile and a wave — grateful for their new found social lives and independence. They were becoming humans! Wasn’t that the whole point of parenting? I was mothering myself right out of a job — if I did it right. Good bye & have fun at school!
I took them to college with the same sense of pride and happiness. I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend college until I was 30. The fact they were going to get to do it with a parental safety net, in Life’s proper order — complete with keg parties and all the shit I missed out on — made me want to let out a whoop! Good bye & call if you need bail money!
I watched as each daughter took a husband — completely in love with the fact my babies were now grown women about to make a new ‘family’ of their own. Less my children now — they had become part of the sisterhood. I had indeed mothered myself out of that job. We made it! Good bye & no you can’t come home if you have a fight with him!
I’ve said good bye to a marriage. And a few more relationships that followed. I didn’t dwell on what couldn’t be. You know when your intuition speaks to you and tells you this is not for you. There is no talking it out — making it work. Good bye, I’m sorry I can’t do this anymore.
I’ve said good bye to friendships. People who have moved on in their lives either geographically or emotionally. I let go of the thread that holds such bonds together and watched them slip away. Good bye, I’m glad we were part of each other’s journey, even if it was only for a while.
I’ve said good bye to patients. Too many patients. People who were under my care when it was time for them to leave this world. I’ve peacefully held the hands of the dying. I’ve done CPR on some — desperately willing them to stay a while longer. I’ve cleaned their bodies and taken them to the morgue. Good bye, thank you for the honor of allowing me into your story.
And last week — I said good bye to My Thelma. We have worked together for most of my career in the OR. She changed jobs as co-workers do from time to time. Good bye Thelma, ‘You get what you settle for’ — Louise Sawyer.
Being able to say good bye is a super power. When you do it well, you release yourself and the other person from the emotional baggage of guilt and co-dependency. You allow them the freedom to be Real, find their own paths, be true to themselves and you get to take care of your own shit. Win/win.
Because that is what adulting is about. Each person, taking care of their own shit.