July 06, 2013

Farewells, goodbyes and the distant wish teletransportation was real!

The first time I ever said goodbye to someone I loved I was one and a half years old. My grandmother suffered from an aggressive form of breast cancer that was already invading the rest of her body and painfully weakening her bones. The legend goes that one particular day, when she was once more taken to the hospital - something that had become wretchedly familiar to all of us - I cried my lungs out! This one time, this afternoon seemingly similar to many others that had been, I decided to cry for my grandmother, screaming for her not to leave. It turned out to be the last time she went to the hospital. She would die there a couple of days later, much to the relieved and painful sadness of her loved ones. 

I don't quite remember this episode of my life, nor I remember what did I feel when someone so dear to me disappeared, so early, from my very young life. My dad, the son of that once lively, caring and vibrant woman, tried to take me with kindness to the subject of loss. After all I was just a tiny little girl, barely knowing how to put phrases together. He told me my grandmother had passed away and had been laid to rest so she could now become a beautiful flower or a wonderful tree in someone else's garden. To this day this sounds to me like the most charming dark tale and it is one that never stopped making sense in my mind.  

As an adult, I struggled to keep positive when I started saying goodbye to friends that were somehow leaving. I had a hard time accepting that I would no longer be part of their daily life, their routines, their coffee runs, their parties, their break-ups, their joys and their tears. I had even a harder time when that distance came, not only physically but also emotionally... I faced the reality that some people, once part of almost every 24 hours of my day for an important period time, were now estranged from me. We either slowly grew apart or life, surprisingly - for me, at least -  got us to break our once strong and significant bond. Accepting these separations, these damages, came with big scars that I had to learn to heal and avoid. It all came with time and with some confused hours reminiscing about where loss had brought me in life.

Just as Lavoisier once said, and just like the image of my grandmother turning into a beautiful plant, "nothing in nature is lost, everything changes". The people passing us by are never truly lost. They changed, themselves, life, us and they will keep on transforming the world long past their time with us. They affect the way we view life, our dreams, fears and hopes, the way we talk and laugh, our sense of humor. They leave behind the marks of their quirks, their long smiles and their wounds. We won't ever be untransformed by them and they will take part of us with them too... onto their next journey.  

These thoughts never made saying goodbye any easier. I don't think it will ever become easy. Suddenly airports aren't as magical as they were when I was a teenager. They became, not only the entrance gate to new worlds and adventures, but also the exit gate for beloved friends that life can unexpectedly make disappear. However, I can now be at peace with loss and exercise my soul to transport myself from the disruptive grief, that would make me anguishly and childishly cry, to the kind vision of colorful flowers and luxuriant trees embellishing someone else's garden. And even if a tear still lurks within, I can gently keep my smile while imagining such wonderful image.

"Tide will rise and fall along the bay
but I'm not going anywhere, I'm not going anywhere.
People come and go and walk away
But I'm not going anywhere, I'm not going anywhere."

                                                                    Keren Ann