I’ve never been much good at goodbyes. Perhaps it’s because goodbyes are emotion-laden means of drawing a line in the sand. They have traditions and rules all of their own. And clearly I don’t understand them.
I tend to just walk away, leaving things hanging here or there. Or I move things over to a very casual and free way. Beloved, however, has mastered the art of goodbyes, having lost loved ones far more than I have.
Of course Beloved also is a lot closer to people than I am so he tends to have more goodbyes to say. So I guess in a sense he has had more practice.
Somewhere along the lines, in his life, he actually stopped saying bye or goodbye to people. Instead he says things like ‘I will see you again’, or ‘i will see you soon’. Sometimes he knows he isn’t seeing a person again and so he thinks them for the visit or something akin to this.
I admire him this skillful, gentle way he has of saying goodbye, whether it’s for a short period of time or the long period when someone is dying. Of course he is also great with the greetings too. But it is his ability to manage the goodbyes that I admire most.