Saying that final goodbye closes a chapter. Sometimes that is a good thing but inevitably goodbye means closing ties to something you felt a bond with. That something could be inanimate or that something could be flesh and blood. Regardless, goodbyes are never easy.
I have experienced many of those closures over the last few weeks and each one of them has meant storing a memory – trapping a moment in a vault that holds the value of a time gone by. I have begun the process of bidding adieu to a job that I have spent many years growing as an employee and as a person, I have sorted through things my mother has saved throughout our lifetime and I will be saying farewell to a house that helped my family shape the people we are today. Although my mom has moved into a retirement home and seems happy to be moving forward, saying goodbye to the life we lived will be difficult.
Each minute I spend sorting through things from our past is a minute that brings my childhood back to the forefront. A single item of my mother’s clothing transports me back 30 years and I can see the last moment I remember her wearing that shirt. Knowing the power of recollection that shirt can elicit makes it that much harder to say goodbye to that relic of fashion, but time marches on and the goodbye must be uttered.
Precious memories recede on the plain of our existence but they impart a lasting impression. A smell, a piece of fabric or a place in the capsule of time can cement our memory and form a piece of our history that is still accessible in the far reaches of our minds. Although the farewells may be necessary, the challenge of walking away from something will never be easy.
I hope that these goodbyes don’t mean that going away signifies forgetting. That is something I am not willing to do. Although goodbyes are difficult, losing those memories is not an option. Past experiences carve the path for the future. Past experiences shape our sense of self. Past experiences make us who we are.
(image credit: healthyplace.com)
Goodbyes are never effortless, but they are necessary. Saying goodbye to the past can only open the door for the future. My heart may be in the memory, but my hope still lies in what is to come.