Saying goodbye is never easy. Even if it’s simply dropping off a screaming child at school who wants that one last cuddle. But you can’t give any more because you’re already late (and they’ve had 10 cuddles and the teacher really needs to do the register) so you just have to walk away, whilst they are moved hysterically to the carpet.
Last week we, as a family, said goodbye to two visitors who came over from Canada for our wedding. We’ve loved having them here and we’re going to miss them so much. We find ourselves trying to plan the next visit. Us to them? Them to us? Us all to mutual ground in between? Well not quite as that would be the centre of the ocean, but you get my drift. I struggle to stay in touch with friends in this country, “we must catch up soon”, famous last words for everyone. Time passes us by so quickly before we know it we’re, well 98.
Which leads me on to our final goodbye, to Stuart’s Grandad Fred. He turned 98 on May 3rd. A proud man. A man with dignity. A man with determination. A man who got up every day and put on a freshly ironed shirt, walked to the shop to get a paper and spent his days pottering around in the garden, cleaning the house, doing DIY and being completely independent.
Stuart and I went to see him, we sat chatting together. He knew we were there. He squeezed my hand every so often, when I mentioned people in the family. I told him about Cooper doing a sponsored bounce, and about Freddie and his new bike, how he loves to ride and be free. How he was so over the moon that he got to ride home from school “like all the other children” for the first time. We spoke, laughed and reminisced about how Grandad had all his ladders taken away because at the grand age of 97 kept climbing them to do handyman tasks. We talked about how he loved to have fish and chips on a Friday.
Saying goodbye is always bittersweet. So happy you’ve got to spend time with the person leaving, whether it be temporarily or permanently. Longing to spend just one more hour in their company, to hug them one last time and tell them how much you love them. It makes you think about all the people you’ve had to say goodbye too. And for me what I could have done differently. It can be overwhelming.
I think if you always do right by people, keep plans you’ve made, be honest and kind you’ll never have regrets.
Until next time, Natalie x