No one ever wants to say good bye to family and friends because no one ever wants to think that it might be the last time we see them again. But we say good bye because we want them to know that they will be in our thoughts and we send them off in good spirits. Even though we wish we didn't have to say those words, we do.
Recently, I learned that a friend (my son's hockey teammate's mother) had a miscarriage at 18 weeks. I hugged her and told her that I knew about the loss. Instead of having a conversation about it after a hockey game, I decided to send her a note. Even though I have never been thru a loss like that, I want her to know that I am thinking of her and that I feel sad for her loss. It's hard to write these letters. I choose to write them because I feel like even though I cannot take away the pain or say the perfect words to bring happiness, I think it's important that they know my thoughts are with them. I wish I could do more for my friend because she had hopes, plans and dreams for this child that she now has to mourn. In my letter, I will say goodbye not only to her baby but to the mom she was going to be for that baby. I will wish her hope and light to carry her thru and I will tell her that I'm here for her if she needs me. This mom deserves a little pinch.
This week my good friend lost her brother to ALS. When I found out via Facebook, I reached out to her and learned that her brother fought this disease with such dignity and courage. He went to work every day until a month ago. That is determination because he was diagnosed 6 years ago! With a terminal illness like ALS, the preparation for final days has to be nerve wracking and hard yet necessary. Even having those six years with her brother, it probably wasn't easy to say goodbye at the end. In a card, I will offer my thoughts and say goodbye to her brother. I will also wish her peace as she grieves and I hope that she is filled with joyful memories of him. I'm waiting to hear if there is a foundation set up in her brother's name or if I should donate to a specific ALS organization. I want to send some money to support a cause that is dear to my friend - a small pinch for her and those he left behind. I wish I could be with her during this sad time.
I found out yesterday that my friend doesn't have much time to live. So today I chose to bring my kids to see her in the hospice home. I brought my children because they are the ones that connected my friend and I together years ago. My kids didn't know that we were saying goodbye, they thought we were just visiting. When my daughter was a toddler, I insisted she stay with me in church during the mass instead of letting her play in the childcare room (first-time-mother rookie maneuver). After mass, people would tell me that my daughter was precious. Precious? I would thank them for their patience as I wiped sweat off my face since it was a work out to keep "precious" quiet for the entire mass. Well, years later, after my son was born and old enough to go to the childcare room, I found myself sitting in church peaceful and quiet before mass. An older woman named Mandy asked me where my children were. I smiled and told her that they were in the childcare room. She sighed and said, "Oh too bad, I loved when you had them with you in church." I almost fell over because for years I barely made it thru each mass, week after week. It finally hit me that Mandy and some others were the very same people who would tell me that my daughter was precious. Mandy became one of my friends even though she had already been my friend the whole time. This is a woman who I went to church with for 8 years and I didn't even know her last name until today. Now she is in a hospice home and I wanted to say goodbye. I wanted to honor her last days with a giant message on a posterboard and a stuffed animal because she is a good person and she matters. When our visit today was coming to an end, my kids continued to play around with the reclining chair so I took the opportunity to look Mandy straight into her sweet eyes and I held her hand tightly. I told her that I loved her and I thanked her for touching my life. I'm not one to throw out the LOVE word loosely. However, as I looked at her and saw that she was ready, I told her that I loved her because she was so kind to me and at that moment she showed tremendous courage even though I know she is sad to go. I am very grateful that I was able to say goodbye to my friend but I have to admit, I cried a lot.
Saying good bye totally SUCKS! It is something that I wish I never had to do. But being thoughtful during these times when we have to say goodbye is so important and comforting. There are many ways to show your thoughtfulness during these sad situations. There is no right or wrong way to reach out to people. The key is to show your support somehow. We don't always get a chance to say goodbye to the ones we care about but when we do, we hope it is not long before we see them again.