Living Before Goodbye


It is coming soon, the day Sunshine will be in my arms and in my home again.  We are counting the days, making plans and preparations.  I’m scheduling different events that we want to make a priority while she is here.

Every weekend has been accounted for.  Already, before she even comes, the time together seems so short.

Two months.  Two months of the rest of our lives.  Maybe the only two months we will ever physically be together again on this earth.  I hope not.  But I know that this could easily be a reality.

And still I want her to come.

Recently, I’ve seen several people make statements along the lines of, “I don’t think I could host.  I couldn’t handle the goodbye and the sending them back.”

I think that’s crazy.

Is it hard?  Sure.  Already I have to push down the cold grip of grief over her going.  I actively work to push the goodbye away from me.


All those moments that we do have.  All the investment in the life of another.  All of the ways I am changed and all the ways I will be changed.  To think of missing these because I fear an end?  Preposterous.

I live and I love in the shadow of goodbye.  We all do, really.  Our children won’t stay in our homes forever.  Our parents age.  Our friendships ebb and flow.

I think we delude ourselves.  We lull our own minds into the comfort of the it-will-be-this-way-forever because it’s easier.  The goodbye seems so far off.

People aren’t saying, “I don’t think I will have children.  Eventually, they will go off to college and get their own lives, and that goodbye would just be too hard.”  They aren’t saying, “I don’t think I will invest in this friendship.  They might not live in my town for longer than a year or two, and I just think the goodbye would hurt too much.”

No.  We invest, we build, we love.  We pretend like the time we have isn’t limited.

But we live in a world of goodbyes.  Distance can separate us.  Conflict.  Death.  Goodbyes hurt.  And there is no escaping them.  It is a broken world.

In some ways, I feel like I am lucky, knowing the amount of time I have been allotted with this girl this time.  I treasure it differently.  It has informed my other relationships, and I am learning to find peace and joy in the moment without expectations for the future.

In other ways, it is one of the heaviest burdens I bear.

But is it worth giving up the joy of time together to avoid the pain of parting?  Do we live weighed down by the looming shadow?  Or do we press on, shining our light against the darkness for the moments that we have?

And I think of One who knows this kind of pain, who can understand the living under a ticking clock.  One who knew his time was limited when those around Him thought that they had forever.  Sometimes I think about that night in the garden, when He said, “Tomorrow I go” and his best friends slept through it.  How that must have wounded.  He only got three years with them.  The whole time, He knew the goodbye was coming, and when.  And still He washed their feet and healed their wounds and settled their arguments and loved and gave and blessed.

How can I do any less?

I cannot go gentle.    Into death, into loss, into goodbyes whether temporary or permanent.  I cannot choose to forgo developing the relationship because pain could come in the future.  I cannot live a life where I refuse to expand my heart.

I’m not storing things up for this life anyway.

2 thoughts on “Living Before Goodbye

  1. arwen

    all love is a risk! but even when i was in the worst of my worst pain, i did not regret it, and would not have chosen to have skipped the loving to avoid the painful ending. and sometimes the pain makes us more keenly aware of how good the good parts really are!

  2. Vicki

    The goodbyes hurt because you love so much. That kind of love is always worth it.

    You will never regret loving a child.
    I agree with Arwen. All love is a risk… We do it anyway because it is worth it. Great post.

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