Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How do you say goodbye?

I have never paid much attention to saying goodbye, every time I take leave after visiting family and friends. It's very common and has became almost cultural to bid your farewells.

But how do you say goodbye to someone who is living on borrowed time? How do you say goodbye to someone that you might not meet again?

Today I witnessed a 90 year old frail mother, consoling her eldest daughter who lay almost lifelessly on bed. Telling her that this is not unfair, not injustice and not bad luck. It is just life. Something none of us have control over. "You've lived a long and prosperous life, surrounded by beautiful people, a loving husband, children and grandchildren. Go in peace, my child."

That broke my heart and tears rolled down my cheeks despite my many attempts to hold it back. I don't think I could have been as calm as the mother - losing a person is just horrendous but losing a child seems to be the worst sort of pain one can bare.

I still recall the pain and agony my uncle felt, when he lost his eldest daughter. A pain so heart wrenchingly terrible, that I would never wish it upon even my worst enemy.

Then how was it possible for her to be so calm looking at her own eldest daughter, I wondered.

What circuit am I missing (or have extra) that has rendered me to be so weak and emotional?

I cry at every sad juncture.
I cry when I see another crying.

So what does this mother have that makes her so strong?
Would I ever get the strength this mother had when she so calmly said goodbye to her child. A goodbye she knew so well might just be her last one.

The saying, if you love someone, you let them go, began playing in my head.
There is no greater love or strength one can posses than letting go.
Letting go of someone or something you loved and cared for. Sounds pretty easy but it is not because once you let go, it may not return and a void would suddenly emerge. Life as you knew it, will no longer be the same.

So how do you say goodbye, when you know this could be your last goodbye?

When life plays its mysterious tricks and takes away someone by surprise, it is painful and those left behind would start questioning "why!?" But you were not given a chance or choice to say goodbye. It happened without any warnings and your chance to say goodbye was stripped away from you.

Unfair, I agree because there is no such thing as timely death. No one wants to lose a loved one, period. Then how do you deal with saying goodbye to someone who is still breathing, eating, talking and responding!?

It changes everything and suddenly you are too aware.
Every act becomes precious because you don't know if it would be your last.
Your mind and emotions start playing with you and suddenly begins flashing life changing scenes. Many what if are converged and you try your best to keep up with it, trying to make sure no leaf is left unturned. It will change you and your focus in life (either short term or long) shifts too.

Each embrace, kiss and squeezing of your interlocked hands could be the last. Each meal made and fed could also be the last and this just makes it harder to say goodbye. But the frail 90 years old mother did it. She said it calmly, without breaking down because she knew, breaking down wasn't required and it was not what her daughter needed.

Could it be, there is no such thing as goodbye? (because she will live on as long as we carry her in our memories)

"Being given birth into this life and later have it taken away, does not define us. What does, is what we do with it, in between the two". Shared a very dear and informed friend.

Perhaps that's why the mother was able to say "go in peace, my child." She knew her daughter has lived and will leave behind many good memories. Her bodily form-life will end but not her legacy. That, will be carried by her children and her children's children. Her stories, her recipes and the way she touched people's heart will be remembered for as long as it is meant to be.

Like a caterpillar that metamorphoses into a butterfly, I suppose she will need to leave her physical form for something greater and her mother knows it.

My goodbye was no where to be found, instead I managed a weak, uncertain, "see you soon." Uncertain because although I will surely return to see her, would she be there?

'The one who sent you, has now recalled you; return to your home now in peace and pleasure. In bliss and ecstasy, sing His Glorious Praises; by this celestial tune, you shall acquire your everlasting kingdom.'
Guru Arjan Dev Ji. (Ang 678. Raag Dhanaasree)

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