My mom ruined me. (Sorry Mom but you did.) I'm damaged and broken. I fall apart and loose my (BLEEP).... when I have to say 'goodbye'. As the story goes, when I was about 2- my grandparents moved from our hometown to Florida. You know they had to go where peeps go to feel young again. My mom was, understandably, devastated. She sobbed and I, at 2, comforted her. Apparently I rubbed her back and told her it would be ok.
That did it. I HATE (I'm not supposed to use that word but I do) GOODBYES. From that moment on "Goodbyes" transform my normally calm self into a freak show with heavy tears, uncontrollable shaking and a lot of lip biting. It's involuntary- it just happens. Sometimes I even try to smile through it so that it doesn't happen...makes it worse! On the flip side, many people that I know take it in stride. A pat on the back, shake of the hand, a one armed hug. It's all good (while I rock back in forth in the corner.)
In this life we have an abundance of goodbyes. Each day presents itself with a plethora of opportunities for new goodbyes. Husband goes off to work, kids go off to school, friend comes for coffee and leaves.. and the list goes on. (I typically do these goodbyes with out gyrating- so that's good.) These goodbye’s we rarely think about.
Then there are the REAL ONES. The ones that cut. The ones that count. The ones that bring the kind of finality that our human minds and hearts don’t want to experience. These goodbyes are so incredibly painful. Being separated from the physical presence of someone you love is suffocating. With physical presence comes a perceived security. Humans like to feel secure. The removal of this presence causes pain and uncertainty. Absence leaves a gaping hole that is yearning to be filled.
When I lost my grandpa a few years back a few of my family members, including me, spoke at his funeral. They walked up to the altar with poise and confidence and did beautifully. Me, not so much. I fell apart. I was shaking and squeaking incommunicably. (Thanks mom- I kid.) Their composure and my break down were not direct correlations to what that amazing man meant in each our lives, or our love of him- we just all handled it differently.
Here's the problem: The way each of us deals with things is individual to our being. One complication with loss is that because of the fact that we all deal with it so differently it can create more loss if each person experiencing it isn't allowed to deal with it in their own way. Bitterness and misunderstanding can rear their ugly heads between the living. Dealing with pain manifests itself in each person so differently. There is no love scale-o-meter that exists to determine which way of dealing with loss is indicative to how much you loved them. You all loved them. Period. Trying to recognize other people’s way of dealing can also give you a glimpse into their grief as well. That is a bond that needs to be formed or you risk irreversible damage in your living relationship.
The immensely gapping hole that is left when our loves leave this world, in my experience, can't be filled. I don't even try because each person has his or her own special place in my enormous heart. I create new hills from which others can slide down, but I don’t try to fill the hole that is left with anything but the memories of the one I lost.
Although I’m filled with the certainty of heaven and promise of forever-I still do goodbye’s horribly. . I KNOW THAT I WILL SEE HIM AGAIN and that does give my small human mind great comfort. The pain that I felt was the beginning of my healing. That hole that once was gaping is filled with the memories of beaches, and ground up meat and pickle sandwiches, Old Milwaukee, being thrown in the pool, and lots of laughter. As life tends to do it came full circle… I received comfort from my kids patting me on the back telling me it would be ok. I also know that no matter how tough goodbyes are for me, I am blessed to be able to say goodbye because that means that I was also able to say Hello.