Goodbyes Are Sad Things

I have many amazing women in my life. They are my friends, my family, my support network, my community.

But my circle includes only a few amazing men. I don’t know why that is, but it’s a fact.

A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to an amazing man I’ve known for about a year. We grew to care a lot for each other, despite our many differences. And, perhaps because of those differences, we changed the course of each other’s lives. I guess it was destiny.

Destiny or not, however, I don’t do goodbyes very well. For me, sadness and tears inevitably accompany them. Sometimes I also suffer a broken heart.

Time, of course, heals all wounds, no matter how they are inflicted.

To help the healing process after goodbyes, I often turn to an anonymous entry I discovered in guest book at a youth hostel almost 30 years ago.

The melancholy, yet somehow also hopeful words touched my heart at the time, and I copied them into my diary, which travels with me to this day. All of this was long before blogs, through which millions now keep their diaries online (see Like a Virgin?)

The passage goes like this:

Goodbyes are sad things. You leave behind dreams that you’ve worked to make real, friends that you’ve suffered to love and sometimes a quiet security that was built with half a lifetime.

On the road, and in life everywhere, you move along and you leave your efforts behind you in the dust, knowing deep inside that you will never find them exactly the same.

Often you spend too much time looking back and you miss something ahead. But there’s little use in trying to escape the loneliness and anxiety that go with you when you move on… for that is life and it is a certainty.

The road teaches you to accept goodbyes as part of saying hello to things that are new, different, and often better. It teaches that what was loved and learned in the past can never be lost, though we sometimes have to let it go.

On the road, and in life everywhere, you spend much time learning, wondering and yes, sometimes remembering.

Youth Hostel Guest Book,
Invercargill, New Zealand
April 24, 1979