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Blessing the other person at the moment of goodbye goes a long way in closing the relationship circle.

Photo: Aeturnum

Goodbyes have always made me want to bolt out of the moment.

I’m horrible at them, feeling as if I should be feeling more than I am. Or that I should be saying something meaningful. Or at least wishing I didn’t want to hop in my car and speed away.

Of course later, I’m left with the grief of the goodbye, the pain of the ending, the overwhelming desire to get back to that moment and roll around in all of its glorious agony.

The rain falls steadily outside, and I tear up as I write, not knowing if a goodbye I just experienced moments ago is a temporary one, or one that may be more permanent. It is partially the unknown that haunts me, the fear of beauty and goodness disappearing from my life.

Goodbyes are rarely easy for any of us. So it came as no surprise that the BNT piece, 5 Golden Rules For Saying Goodbye On The Road, struck a cord with many of you since connecting with people on our trips is inevitable, and so is bidding them farewell. As author Natalie Grant noted:

The dreaded farewell is the one inevitable remainder at the end of your travel equation. Alas, such is the bittersweet lifestyle of those who are constantly in motion.

The trip of life is really no different – if you are open to incredible new people coming into your life, even when you aren’t physically in motion, you sometimes have to grapple with when and how to let them go. Sometimes I think – no, I know – there is a better way to say goodbye than my approach. Mary Jaksch in her article, Why Mindful Goodbyes Lead to a Life without Regrets, reminded me that intention goes a long way:

Antiquated goodbye formulations, such as ‘fare-well’, or the even older, ‘fare thee well’ reveal that at the heart, goodbyes are blessings. We bless the other person’s going and coming, wishing that they may be well while away…In order to make our goodbyes a blessing, all we have to do is to pay attention to the moment and create an intention of goodwill in our heart.

My mind making a bee-line for the metaphorical open road disregards this blessing, which also diminishes the possibility of closure. So my thoughts return later to that moment, thirsty for the promise of peace I didn’t allow to enter. Jaksch recommends, “When you hug stay close to the one you love for at least one complete in- and out-breath,” which pays “tender regard” to the other person.

Of course different cultures express hellos and goodbyes in their own form, but the key is to feel that heart and breath connection as you share an embrace.

The key is to feel that heart and breath connection as you share an embrace.

The truth is, none of us ever know when we may be saying our last goodbye to a loved one. Some are obvious, such as parting at a train station to take off in different directions, while others come as a shock when an accident occurs, a surprise move transpires, or an untimely death happens.

My goodbye today included the blessing of a few tears shed in the moment. I guess I’m on my way.

How do you make your goodbyes meaningful? Share your thoughts below.



About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • Alyssa

    I always write people letters! I did it graduating high school, leaving my friends after a semester abroad… it helps me gather thoughts and also puts concrete thoughts down that I can look back at and reminisce.

    Nice article, Christine :)

  • JoAnna

    I always try to be so “manly” with goodbyes and choke back tears, but it just makes me feel crappy later about not expressing the way I really felt at the moment.

  • Camden Luxford

    I’m definitely guilty of the rushed goodbye – I’d really much prefer to just tip-toe unnoticed out the back door then rush to the bus station. Great article, Christine, thanks.

  • Meagan

    For such an avid traveler, I suck at goodbyes.

    I either turn into an emotional icicle, by making awkward jokes and avoiding tear-shedding at all costs, or I break down and bawl like a baby. If only I could find a middle ground…

    Great article!

  • Anne

    I hate goodbyes too, and like Camden, I tend to plot an exit strategy when I sense one approaching. Good to know there are others like me! Thanks Christine!

  • Andrea

    I think saying good bye to traveling companions or people you meet on a trip is the hardest since what brought you together, happenstance of being on the same road or in the same place for an adventure of some kind, makes a deep bond….but it is ephemeral and may not have meaning once everyone returns to their “normal” lives. All the people I traveled with and met in Cuba have a special place in my heart and mind but there is no context to continue the relationship except remembrance of that place and time. However, the fact I traveled in Cuba creates a bond when I meet people who have been to Cuba. So the energy circles around, I guess.
    It took me a long time to figure out that the intense friendships that develop when traveling are ephemeral….like a spring pond. Lovely and nurturing while they last but gone with time.

  • Neil

    “Safe travels” is my usual goodbye. a quick embrace added, I care not to prolong such but to make well wishes known in a brief yet heartfelt moment.

  • Scott

    I say, simply, goodbye; or, to those who know, I bow and say Namaste.

    Whether it be a person I’ve just met/hung out with for a few days, a week or more or when leaving home, and saying goodbye to friends of forty years, I feel the need to say very little. Whether it be a few days or forty years, I make sure – each moment – that these people know what I think of them, what and who they are to me.

  • Lauren

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece.

    After a two year solo journey, I would have thought I would get use to goodbyes, but I can only describe myself as an over emotional whale when I say farewell to friends, that deep down I know I probably will not ever cross paths with again.

    The best piece of advice I ever received on this matter is to ‘just rip it off like a plaster’

  • Lucille Kalunde

    Goodwill Blessing.

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