In the past few weeks I’ve been doing what I could to a good friend to someone who was dealing with the stress and anxiety of a sick father. One who had recently been diagnosed with a form of cancer and who was not doing so well. I could so relate to her pain and her fear, cos not so long ago I was in her shoes. At a similar time of the year no less.
My heart bled for my special friend, for no one should have to deal with this sense of loss before the actual loss, no one should have to live on tenter hooks as to when the penny is going to drop, of when you’re going to have to say goodbye to someone who means so much to you. Sadly she had to say goodbye too soon.
I was glad that she got to see her Dad before he passed as that is the one thing I most regret about my Dad’s passing, but when I heard how her voice trembled when she described how frail and ill he was, I wondered if it was best for her.
I get to remember my Dad as a reasonably healthy man. She does not. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since my Dad died and with my friend’s Dad’s passing it’s brought it more to the forefront of my mind… what is the best way to say goodbye? Is it knowing that you’ve seen this person even if the body they inhabit at the time is not who they are? Is it when that person is ripped from your life with NO notice like in a car accident or sudden heart attack? Is it when the person dies peacefully in their sleep at an old age before their body and mind gives up on them? Does the pain and heartache of having to say goodbye serve any purpose to us?
Before my Dad died, I would have said without a shadow of a doubt that the last option is the best case scenario, but now? I can’t say that I believe that.
For in reality there is no “good” or “best” way to say goodbye to someone you love. It hurts. In ways you could never have imagined. No matter how they died, no matter if you got to say goodbye or not. It sucks and whilst with time the pain dulls, the sense of missing that person can hit you like a ton of bricks when you least expect it even after time has passed.
Sure comfort is found by those of us who are left behind in many ways. “He did not suffer long”, “He was at peace when he passed”, “He knew you loved him and was with him in spirit”, “Remember his funny laugh – he loved life and would have hated to live the way he was”… the list is endless…
And in truth, those of us who are left behind, we’re the ones that their deaths effect the most. For those who leave us, they are gone from us, their souls at rest. We’re the ones who need to deal with the grief and once the grief dies down, we’re the ones who need to get on with living the lives we have to the best of our abilities.
If there is one thing my Dad’s passing has taught me in the last 11 months, it’s this…
Time IS short.
Life IS good.
And through saying goodbye, we get to appreciate that a little more. Death of our loved ones does serve a purpose. It’s to make sure that we revel in the lives we have to live.
All the time.