On saying farewell and missing people

Is it harder being the leaver or the one being left?

The human heart is a strong and resilient organ. In our life, it never rests until our dying day. We can push it up to 250% of its resting rate, and it often does it without skipping a beat (pun very intended). Even if it does stop, a very strong jolt of electricity or a hand squeezing and massaging it can start it right back up and keep you going for many more years. Yet, sometimes strong emotions feel like they are enough to stop our hearts right in our chests, shatter it to pieces, or ache so badly we wish that we never had one or that we could just tear it right out of our chest. I can think of no event that elicits such a strong response as saying goodbye to someone.

Of course, there are many different kinds of goodbye. All of them elicit these same feelings in varying degrees. There is the pain of the permanent(?) farewell, where people pass away; there are the feelings that occur when you break up with a significant other or are forcefully separated from people you love because of estrangement, divorce, etc.; there is also the type of farewell where you know that it’s “bye for now, see you later”, though you may or may not know when “later” is.

Continue reading