How Do You Say Goodbye?

September 1, 2021

How do you say goodbye? Not the kind of goodbye with the potential of “I’ll see you later,” the kind of goodbye that stays, forever. The kind that means gone and final and never again. The kind that changes futures and changes hearts. The kind of goodbye that you never forget and the kind you wish you never needed. 

How do you say a forever goodbye? Is it with a simple “I love you.”? Is it with a hug and a smile? Is it a delicate “thank you” side-by-side with an “I’ll never forget you?” How can you possibly plan the words significant enough for a final goodbye? Words seem insignificant in a moment like this but they also seem necessary. Such a contradiction of what you want and what must be. 

How do you vocalize a final goodbye? It’s certainly with a broken heart, a confused mind and eyes full of tears but what else? How do you compose the elements of this fragile moment in time? How do you comprehend the fleeting life that sits in front of you? How do you release the sentiments of your heart in a way that feels appropriate and meaningful? 

How do you say “go on ahead” while desperately hoping they’ll never go? How do you say “I’ll be ok” when you’re wondering how you’ll ever carry on? How do you say goodbye when all you want is to shout “Stay! Stay! Stay!”? How do you say a goodbye that is unwelcome and certainly one you’re unprepared for? How do you say goodbye when you’re breathless with lips refusing to move? 

How do you say goodbye to your safe space and someone that feels like home? How do you say goodbye to someone who holds pieces of you that no one else does? How do you say goodbye to someone you love? The kind of goodbye that lasts forever. 

How do you craft and create a final goodbye when it’s the last thing you want and the one thing you’re working boldly to prevent? How do you let go when all you want is to hold on? How do you gain the strength to whisper the unthinkable? How do you say goodbye?

Before I can ponder the thought any further, time has escaped and it’s now or never. No longer minutes to wonder how, only seconds left to act, to say, or do. It’s down to this, fading breaths and breaking hearts. 

So tell me, how do you say a final goodbye to someone you love?

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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