Friday, August 12, 2011

Life's Hellos and Goodbyes

I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately, how people come and go from our lives and how many have come and gone from mine. The two things I have the hardest time dealing with are death and goodbyes and I've had to face both over the past two weeks.

  On July 30th someone I knew well at work passed away of complications from cancer. Elizabeth fought courageously for almost eight years, during this time she had her ups and downs but always tried to hide it and take the focus off herself. I loved her positivity through it all, she was a very uplifting and encouraging person. Always asked how Sandy is doing and how the cats are. Her face just lit up when she spoke about our gardens. I knew her health was declining but I didn't think she'd be gone so soon, she was in her forties and died too young.

  A few days ago another work friend of mine walked into my office. Vanessa and I have known each other for almost eight years, and as she made her way towards me I could feel she was leaving. Today was her last day, she's moving to another city over three hundred miles away and we'll probably never see each other again. I'll miss having her around, we had some good talks, but mostly I'm just happy for her. It's a new opportunity in a new city, a new chance to pursue what makes her happy. That makes it easier for me to see her go.

  Saying goodbye is never easy. I don't know if I'm growing used to seeing people come and go from my life but I'm more philosophical these days, more at peace with it all. The poem, "A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime" has helped. I've grown to realize that some people are in our lives for the length of time they're meant to be, even if why they go away when they do isn't always obvious. Sometimes it's terribly unfair and even cruel, but I believe there's a reason for these things. I have to believe it, it's what helps get me through.

  Most of you I've talked with by e-mail know I love to explore things like relationships, our desires, fears and victories...what makes us tick. I have many of these conversations and sometimes they've shown promise of developing into a trusting relationship only to fade weeks or months later. Other times they grow into very close friendships. And it makes me wonder why. Why is it so many people drift in and out of touch with us while the bond between those we met years ago continues to grow stronger?

  I know there are a million circumstances but I think it just comes down to connection and how much we need or relate to someone at any given time. Sometimes it's temporary, to help us through a situation.  But sometimes it runs a lot deeper than that and those are the people who stick around.

  Then there are those who pass through each others' lives and return when the time seems right.  A perfect example happened just today. I was having one of the most stressful days at work in recent memory when a  certain someone made an appearance out of the blue and left me this comment, " You've become like my big brother, honestly."  It made all the difference.

  Every goodbye will be met by a new hello. We just have to wait for it sometimes.

(photo credit here)


  1. Sorry for your loss.

    Lovely post and I totally agree - life is just a journey and people we meet are passangers. I had prepared something to post but you say it so much better.

    Goodbyes and deaths are the most difficult for me as well. And sometimes, goodbye and hello are from the same person... with lots of time in between.

  2. France, thank you. I have good memories of her.

    Please do write your post, I'd like to read what you have to say.

  3. Sorry it was such a rotten week for you, and sorry for your loss of your friends. Pretty tough to handle in one week. I'm not going to say any cliche's because I hate them, but as you know you have my sympathies.

  4. Thanks Tony. In some ways yeah it was a bad week but also good in many ways. I'm just thankful for the people who stay. I've known you longer than almost everyone and I guess at our core we haven't changed much. I'm thankful for that!

  5. You and I have been talking about this, but something I'd like to add is that if you can wrap your mind around and then truly believe that we're all connected, then the goodbyes become a little easier because you realize you're still connected to them. No, it's not the same as their physical presence, but if you think about it just right it's in many ways better than their physical presence. :)

  6. i'm sorry to hear that elizabeth passed on. that is terrible news. cancer is an evil bitch.

    great post barry. sometimes i wonder the same thing.

  7. I"m sorry to hear about your friend :/ She is no longer suffering at least.

    I feel the same way about relationships, sometimes I wonder why we meet new people if we have to eventually leave them, but everyone in our lives makes a difference.

  8. I'm a bit speechless, not really all that sure on what to say. Well, I just wanted to say Thank you, thanks that I made a difference. It means alot really, I don't really know what to say. But, all the time I was away from blogger, all the things I learned from you stayed with me, and I never forgot them.

    A big reason why I came back was because I really wanted to continue learning from you, and continue on reading your experiances. The words you put together, and how openly you share your experiances really gets to me, since I just think your one of those people you don't meet very often.