Saying Final Goodbyes
I came across a music video that slayed me a few weeks ago - Monsters by James Blunt. Blunt's father is dying of chronic kidney disease, and in the song he very emotionally says goodbye to him.
The day I saw the video happened to be, coincidentally, the 10th anniversary of my dad's death. My dad and I did not have an easy relationship, but his dying of pancreatic cancer over a five-month period (2,000 miles away) provided a unique opportunity to address our issues. His impending death forced me to evaluate who he had been in my life, and gave me the chance to choose what I would remember. I'm so grateful for the challenge that time provided... I had to say goodbye with complete finality each time we parted, and that boiled our relationship down to a pretty pure essence at some point. I think that's why James Blunt's verse, "I'm not your son, you're not my father / We're just two grown men saying goodbye," spoke to me.
Ultimately, I think about how meaningful those goodbyes are when you can really face your own fears surrounding death and acknowledge that you will likely never see someone again. I have had a handful of those truly meaningful goodbyes. I have also had the ones where no one in the room wants to admit that death is imminent, and I'm always sorry I didn't tell the person what they meant to me, or that I was glad to have known them.
Our interactions with each other are finite and precious. Don't bank on tomorrow. And always err on the side of being real and telling someone what they mean to you.
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Carrie Andrews is a Patient Advocate & Advanced Care Consultant who isn't afraid to talk about dying.