I don’t believe in goodbyes.
That people come into your life and fade without meaning, without purpose, without the promise to return again in some form.
Even the ones you’ve loved and lost, they still come to you—in photographs in an abandoned box under your bed, in a certain smell, in the way someone new looks at you, makes you remember. They come to you in a familiar warmth, in a specific taste of chocolate chip ice cream that brings you to the summer after your freshman year of college, just wasting days in their arms.
Even those who are no longer on this earth haunt you in beautiful ways—a shiver down your spine when you hold their favorite blanket to your chest, or a song on the radio right when you need to hear it.
They know, somehow. They always know. And they come to you.
Even the ones you no longer have with you; they’re never gone.
They never leave.
And you can’t forget, you can’t say goodbye.
Because you will always carry those memories with you.
Goodbyes are impermanent,
and I don’t believe in them.
See, there is beauty and promise in every encounter. The man at the street corner with this crinkled sack lunch who smiles and nods. The woman at the grocery store with her scrambling kids who shakes your hand when return her dropped purse. The boy you first kissed back in second grade with the long bangs and the scuffed gym shoes. The daughter you lost in your first miscarriage.
Each was a moment, a memory, a sliver of time.
Perhaps fleeting, but not gone.
Not gone because you carry these people with you. You think of them on a summer day when the breeze blows just right. When you walk past a homeless man in a new city. When you have scrambling, fussy children of your own. When you’ve forgotten what heartbreak feels like. When you stand in front of a closet and are suddenly struck with the thought that your unborn child would be thirteen-years-old now.
But I don’t believe in goodbyes.
I don’t believe that the connections we have to people and things are temporary. That somewhere along the way they cease to exist, cease to carry meaning, cease to be something real.
Because no matter the time, the distance, the loss in our life, they will forever carry weight.
A goodbye implies that there is an end. And in human connections, in love, in life, there is no end.
Just a transference to something else—new love, new connections, new relationships, a rebirth.
Losing a loved one becomes loving those around you more deeply. Broken relationships mean falling more fully the next time around. Distancing from old friends means building stronger friendships.
So I don’t believe in goodbyes.
I don’t believe parting from the ones I love indefinitely; whether moving across the country or into an afterlife, I will see them again. I will carry them with me into whatever journey, whatever obstacles, whatever fears I face.
I will find their love transferred into how I love myself.
I will see their smiles when I close my eyes.
I don’t believe in the permanence of a goodbye, in the promise of never seeing the ones I love again, alive or passed.
Because I know I will.
I know I’ll see them in the pages I write, in the laughter I share with others, in the smile across my face.
They will never be gone.
I will never say goodbye forever.
Because you cannot part with what’s always with you,
what’s always in your heart.