The last goodbye

Spoiler warning – this post is not as melancholy as it sounds, and will end with a bad joke…

This was also written a month or so ago, just before my Mum left home and moved to Wetherby, but I couldn’t face publishing it then. Much as I love the ability to show the world the joy and the pain that dance in my head, sometimes its important to have a bit of privacy. I chose to post it today after a troubling phone call brought back similar emotions:

Today a lot of packing was done, and most of my focus was, as usual, on completing the task as efficiently as possible. Rightly or wrongly, what’s important is that we are all ready to go tomorrow.

For supper, we went to my favourite resteraunt, Robertsons in Tavistock, and whiled away the evening. Now, I know tht mum has spent the week saying goodbye to people who she will very likely never meet again, but as always, it’s not until you witness something that you truly understand it. To watch two people who really mean something to you say their last goodbyes, knowing the circumstances surrounding their encounter, is painful. But then I got to thinking… How many people in our lives have we said goodbye to for the last time? This may be to a person as inconsequential as a receptionist or a teacher, or a loved one who you never met again. Now, I know that I’ve said goodbye to people expecting to see them again, and then regretted the breeziness of our final encounter.

To this day, when I learn stories of emotional bravery and beauty about two of my now sadly deceased aunts, I regret not taking the time to know them. I hear of the pain of miscarriage, not once but twice. I hear of the joys of adoption, and the pains of adoption. I hear tales of an aunt treading the boards in London, gaining the appreciation of Judi Dench, who struggled to life a life of happiness before being struck down in the prime of her life. And I think of how selfish I was when I visited, how little I inquired, and how much I have missed.

And now, just a few weeks later, I can see the same thing happening. My mum’s memory, which has never been fantastic, is worsening. Like a thief in the night, stealing pearls from a jewlerery box one by one, I can see a decline that will only ever have one end. Questions asked twice in a row become the norm, multiple first phone calls of the day. I always try to call during the day, just to add some spice, but sometimes its just not possible. So I must think and I must plan my journey along this road, and what happens when the end is reached.

Whilst I am lucky, if you can call it that, to be able to plan my goodbyes, this isn’t always the case. And I guess that’s the point. What happens if you wake up tomorrow to find  loved one gone, a light in your life forever extinguished? Today might be the last chance to tell someone that you love them, and to tell them of your respect and admiration. Today might be the last chance to find out what they did with their life, what they regret, and what they are proud of. So go and find out, spend time away from meaningless interactions on facebook and actually spend time speaking to them. If not for you today, then for you in the future.

And now, for a shit joke.

Why won’t a bike stand up by itself? It’s two tired..


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