By Heidi Priebe
When you don’t know how to the big goodbyes, you live them.
You come home an hour early from work to make extra time. You leave homemade cookies lying on the counter. You make a series of tiny allowances that you wouldn’t usually make because you know that the clock is winding down and your time is running short and you suddenly need to make the most of it. You’re suddenly aware of how little time you harness for love.
When you do not know how to say goodbye, you extrapolate it. You say goodbye by focusing a little bit harder and listening a little more intently and laughing a little bit louder at what your loved ones say. You part ways by saying ‘Yes’ when you’d normally tell someone ‘No’ and you allow yourself to absorb the people and experiences and chances that you’d usually let pass you by. You say goodbye by carving out time for the life you should have always been living. You say goodbye by delving deeper in.
When you do not know how to say goodbye, you feel it. You feel it in the pit of your stomach when you close the front door of someone’s apartment or speed away from a city on a train or print your boarding pass to somewhere far-away at the airport. You feel the full weight of unspoken goodbyes like a mysterious absence inside of you; emptiness that theorizes fullness. Bleakness that balances a whole world full of color.
Because the truth is, we don’t ever need to say goodbye to each other. We don’t need to clasp hands and kiss cheeks and drive one another to the airport just to put off the inevitable farewell. We just need to remember to live together while we’ve still got the chance.
We need to keep track of our time as it’s running closer and closer to empty. We need to remember to open our hearts and our minds and our thoughts and our lives up to each other, while we still have the time left to connect.
We need to stay up too late and put in too much effort and be bold enough to take all of the chances that we’re terrified to take on each other. We have to remember to live every day as if the next will be our greatest goodbye, because this is the greatest gift that we can give one another. The strength to live with a wide-open heart.