When I think about saying goodbye to someone, in death, I think of the movies… where tearful souls sit bedside, telling their loved one how much their life has meant to them. In the movies, characters seem to express to the full extent their feelings, at which time their beloved is able to peacefully slip into the arms of God.
In reality, saying goodbye can happen bit by bit, over a long period of time, without our awareness. Sneaking up on us and stealing a person long before they’ve left from this world.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to my grandmother.
Granny, as she liked to be known, began her departure long before her body was ready to rest. That is the heavy burden of this sadness that lingers. It’s the nagging voice in the back of my mind, chiding me for not spending more time with this woman who meant so much to me, telling her how I felt… recalling memories together and not just listening to her, but taking the time to better hear what she was saying.
I think (I hope) in her heart she knew how much she meant to me. Even so, I wish I’d done a better job. There is no substitute for telling someone how much you love them.
So we gathered, we remembered and we honored this woman who was so complex and so loving… this woman who seemed to emanate confidence in self and possessed this ability to speak the difficult truths… this woman without whom three generations wouldn’t be gracing the Earth, with their own gifts and love to share with those surrounding them.
If I had one more chance, I’d just tell her that I love her, “a bushel and a peck.” The conversation could be short, but ideally taking place in her garden, in the green bean row to be exact.