Why we need to face goodbyes head-on | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

GOODBYES are no fun. For the past umpteen years I have had my share of these painful moments; no slamming of doors perhaps, but heartbreakers just the same.

No matter how softly you deliver the message, even if you were to score it with celestial music, it will still bring sadness, telling us that something important and special is no more. Perhaps it was a fast friendship miserably killed by a misunderstanding, or a once-in-a-lifetime love affair that ended, who knows why.

It hurts to say goodbye almost as much as it hurts to hear it. But it is important to articulate these painful words, clearly, without hesitation, and also listen carefully when we receive them.

There is no easy way to say goodbye. The words are simple and commonplace, but they carry the sharpest thorns and tear at the heart cruelly, causing endless tears.

Goodbye songs are written in a language that a hurting heart will never comprehend. The lyrics tell of lost chances and of forever gone wrong.

Someone once said: “The most painful goodbyes are those that are never said and never explained.” I agree. And yet I know that some situations make saying goodbye almost unnecessary.

Example? When “the gig is up” and, despite vehement denials, it becomes as plain as day and as obvious as the nose on your face that it is, indeed, over. The curtains have fallen, it is time to take your bow and leave the stage.

Unfortunately, some of us refuse to see the signs. Some go into stubborn denial, not willing to face the failure of a relationship, and pretend instead that it is “just a phase.”

It is essential that goodbyes be spoken clearly, unequivocally. Painful as the words may be, one needs to speak them. Walking out does not cut it. Neither is not showing up or disappearing into the sunset. It is a coward’s way out, a cad’s escape from having to face the music.

‘Reunion mode’

Why am I on a “goodbye” kick? I’m glad you asked. Nothing romantic. But taking my suitcases out of storage may be one reason.

Although at the moment, my entire family is in “reunion mode,” I need to start packing soon for a long-anticipated vacation.

In the meantime I try not to read the front pages too closely. I have stopped watching the news on television. I lost my taste for it sometime ago when I realized that the readers of the news did nothing but editorialize and seem to have been hired to be attack dogs trained to seek and destroy.

I am trying not to lose sleep over the latest gutter language and would rather not imagine what it will be like if our citizens are turned loose in the streets, playing the role of real-life vigilantes or worse.

Are you sleeping well at night? Or do you, like me, stare at the ceiling calling on heaven to intercede?

Getting together

Have you had a sleepover lately? I strongly suggest you do. I had forgotten how much fun they are.

A cousin from Australia spent the weekend with my sister and I. She is our closest of kin. Our dads are brothers, and our moms are sisters.

We laughed and cried a lot, listened to opera, sang old songs, one supplying the lyrics when the other forgot.

We grew up together in a big house on Legarda Street. Our home was always filled with music. Mama sang and her sister played piano.

Even after we moved to an accesoria a few meters away, whenever Papa went out to sea, Mama, my sister and I would cart our belongings down the street to their house where we set up our banig and kulambo in their sala.

All through the war we lived together. It was fun in spite of the fear and trembling during air raids. Somehow, living in close quarters made it less scary to hear bombs exploding and, in the middle of the night, in the darkness of a blackout, watching the menacing flames from fires raging not too far away.

Together we rejoiced at the sight of the American liberators in camouflaged helmets and fatigues marching down our street soon after they took Santo Tomas.

It was sad when we finally each lived in our own homes. But, through the changes, our families remained attached. When her parents moved to their new home in San Juan, so did we, right next door.

Best table

We continued our reminiscing even on a road trip. After church Sunday, my daughters took us to Balay Dako in Tagaytay. In spite of the immense crowd waiting in the anteroom, we were given the best table in the house.

In that incredibly beautiful setting and while we feasted, we had a breathtaking view of Taal volcano and the lake. Balay Dako (Negrense for Big House) is another jewel in the Antonio’s Group of Restaurants crown.

We got home at sundown after a long drive in Sunday traffic, tired but happy. Slept like babies.

It was a fun weekend, happily spent remembering, laughing at old jokes and indulging in bittersweet memories of loved ones now gone but never forgotten. We do that a lot, don’t we. Why?

In “For One More Day,” my favorite book by Mitch Albom, he says: “Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them. ”

That’s why.