A Goodbye

Two weeks ago I had one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking conversations of my life.

The phone rang and it was my friend Lynn. In a soft clear voice she said, “You’re the only person I’m calling before I go into palliative care. I wanted to talk to you because I love you and because we had such a special relationship.”

It took me a while to say what we both knew. “You mean you’re saying, ‘Goodbye?’”

“Yes,” she said firmly. “I wanted to do it privately.”

When It All Started.

We talked about the ways we loved and supported each other for the last 26 years. I couldn’t hold back tears as I thanked her for taking such wonderful care of me when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, when I lost my baby, when I went through divorce and so much more.

Besides these and other major life events, we shared a passion for exploring ourselves—especially dissecting our vulnerabilities. We learned together to strengthen our hearts and minds. It all started when we met and became friends as university returnees studying psychology.

It felt surreal reminiscing the past when our future was about to come to an abrupt end. I was fully present in this most precious moment. I felt a sense of profound honour to be able to have this conversation knowing it would be our last. She would be needing morphine to handle the pain now, and it would put her in a drug-induced fog.

I didn’t want our conversation to end. I wanted nothing to change. But, soon she grew tired. It was time.

After I hung up I cried for days, and yet deep inside there was joy. Again and again I thanked her silently.

In my work, I help my clients overcome their struggle to understand and express their heart to their spouse, children, siblings and friends. It always feels risky to them—they’re afraid someone may get hurt. But I know from experience that it’s holding on to stuff that hurts the most. It blocks the possibility of deeper, better relationships.

I often think of my father, who died before I had a chance to tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. I always felt that he never heard those words enough. How I wish I could go back.

If you have a chance to express what’s in your heart to a loved one, whatever it is, take it. I know you won’t regret it.

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A Goodbye