Go Now by The Moody Blues (click to play)

Ciao bella! Life is an endless parade of goodbyes. That sounds like a real downer, but actually goodbyes are poignant celebrations, simply a way of letting go of one thing and greeting the next. Almost every significant event in our lives is bookmarked by the farewells we bid. Even moments of festivity are times of letting go.

My daughter graduated from college last week, a joyous jubilee at the end of a four-year adventure and the beginning of a brand new journey. Goodbye to beautiful Boulder, one of the coolest towns around. Goodbye to the St. Julien Hotel where we’ve spent many lovely hours. Goodbye to tuition payments – well, two down one to go. Hello to my grown-up child who now feels more like my friend than my kid. Hello to a world of possibilities. Haley’s History Department graduation held their intimate commencement in the most fitting setting of an outdoor amphitheater. It was a very proper ceremony that ended with touching comic irreverence. Go Now by The Moody Blues was the recessional march, and those wry history professors wished the graduates well by sending them on their merry way with an old classic goodbye song.

Many tears have been shed at goodbyes during my life, but my eyes are relatively dry these days as I realize that goodbye doesn’t usually mean forever, at least in the scheme of eternity. Even the beloveds we have said goodbye to in this life will return to us someday in one form or another. I say goodbye an awful lot now to our three kids who all live out of state, which seems to get easier each time. My heart is full-to-bursting during the reunions with my children, so I’ve learned to just truly enjoy the time together without dreading the inevitable goodbye at the visit’s end. I actually appreciate the farewells because it gives me that glorious anticipation of our next reunion, and I’m learning to love farewells because that’s the way we get to say hello all over again.

What we need is a happy word to say goodbye with. Italians and Hawaiians do it best by using the same word for hello and goodbye. Ciao. Aloha. Shalom does the same and softens the blow in Hebrew while Salaam does the trick in Arabic. We unromantic, bereft English speakers are sorely lacking an all-purpose word of greeting. Salut? Good day? Peace? Hey? Cheerio? Fare thee well, farewell… it’s time for a new way to say goodbye.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chrisandmattcycleamerica
    May 21, 2012 @ 15:06:49

    Very well said. Of course in a few years we’ll all be welcoming new family members between spouses and grandchildren so the goodbyes are the first step to new hellos.


    • janahaertl
      May 21, 2012 @ 17:18:06

      Exactly, Chris! Every goodbye brings the prospect of exciting hellos! So much to look forward to. You’ll be saying a lot of hello-goodbyes during your upcoming cross-country journey… looking forward to hearing about them all!


  2. nriley
    May 21, 2012 @ 15:45:22

    Great post Jana!


  3. carolyn rovner
    May 21, 2012 @ 15:51:11

    Well said, my friend!


  4. fred h
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 04:47:33

    great post – I LOVE the picture of you and the kids.


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