We say goodbye when we leave a place because it’s natural. Because goodbye is the normal response for when you’re wandering elsewhere, when you’re walking in a different direction, when you’re headed home, when you’re moving on. We say goodbye when our life changes because ‘goodbye’ captures the feeling of no longer waking up to the same faces, or no longer meeting the same friends for a hangover-curing brunch at our favorite place down the street, or no longer feeling the brush of someone’s lips against ours in the late hours of night.
‘Goodbye’ signifies change. We say it when distance squeezes itself between two hearts, or wedges its way into what feels normal, reminding us that nothing will ever be exactly the same.
But ‘goodbye’ doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Saying goodbye doesn’t mean that everything is forever changed in a terrible way, or that the shift in our natural patterns is negative, or that nothing will ever be as good as what was.
Sometimes goodbyes are temporary. Sometimes goodbyes are natural. Sometimes goodbyes are healthy. Sometimes we have to say goodbye because we’re being pulled to something better, something more productive, something that will help to shape us and grow us into the people we’re meant to be.
And a goodbye is never permanent, because the people we leave don’t suddenly cease to exist. The relationships we’ve had won’t suddenly dissolve just because we’ve moved locations.
Even if there are miles between two hearts, a bond can, and will, stay the same if those two people work at it. No matter the hours on a plane or highway, no matter the tickets and transfers and travel between people, the relationship is still real. And will always be real.
So for the best friends I have around the world, for the parents who no longer live in my same city, for the souls I still care about, for all the people I have connections with in all the homes I’ve made—no matter the physical distance between us, I will always be here.
I will always be here. I will always love you. I will always pick up the phone when you call and travel to see you when you’re broken and need to hear my voice.
I will always be the same—our relationship will always stay strong and consistent. Because I’m not going to walk away when I don’t hear from you for a few days. I’m not just going to let you go because I don’t see your face every single day. You’re not just going to fade from my mind because I can’t eat lunch with you on Tuesdays, or drink mimosas with you on lazy Sunday afternoons.
You aren’t just going to stop being important to me because of where you are in the world.
No matter the distance between us, I will forever value you. I will forever value our relationship. I will forever value our memories because they shaped me, changed me, uplifted me, and taught me who I was.
Things will change after that goodbye. We will walk down different paths in different directions. We will shift and become different. We will lose some of the things we used to do or say. But we won’t lose each other.
Our cellphones will still connect. Our hearts will still be tied. Our hands will still scratch out handwritten letters and we will still type posts and emails and little one-word texts when we need to remind each other that we care.
We will say goodbye, not because we’ve reached an ending, but because that’s the word you say when you begin a new chapter in your life’s story. And that goodbye does not mean the book closes; we simply turn a page.
And trust me, I know that not distance, no time, nor all the pages in the world could never keep our stories from writing their way into each other’s over and over again.