You left without goodbye. Rear view tilted, shades on and not so much as a backward glance or wave. At least that’s how it felt on this side of loss. All of the unspoken goodbyes had wound themselves around your delicate frame and pressed in making you seem smaller, dimmer than usual. If I’m honest with myself, I saw this train a long ways off. Maybe I should have started my goodbye right then and there.
But I didn’t and neither did you.
Instead we fumbled and reached for words that fell short of our lips. We awkwardly stirred drinks we didn’t need and felt time moving fast and slow all at once. Words slipped out that could have passed between strangers. But we deserved more than that and you knew it too. What we deserved was to be lost in the grief of losing someone we had tucked away in so many places for so long.
Sitting there in that kitchen, I felt the heaviness of years of stories pressing down on the frayed edges of my heart and begging to be given life just one last time. To let the stories swirl around us in a cloud of laughter and tears. If only spoken aloud, they could have been the kind that healed a hurting heart. But as you held yourself tightly, I shoved my own grief laced memories down into their place.
And the thing is I’m all about goodbyes. Because too often our goodbyes are snatched away before the bittersweet syllables are even formed. If I could go back, I’d wrap my arms around you and string our hearts together with all the syllables that make up goodbye. And tell you how you took a piece of me. What I’m trying to tell you right here in this little space is that we’re worth goodbyes. We are worth the full heartwrenching deal, tears flowing & hugs we hold too long because letting go means it’s goodbye. And next time, that’s just what you’ll get.