08 September 2014

When Saying Goodbye Becomes A Privilege

Exactly two weeks ago today, I was with a man who had just lost his father. He narrated to me how his dad died. I'll never forget his opening words. "Last night, my father died peacefully in my arms." I could see and feel the closure he had in getting to share in his father's final moments on earth. "What a privilege!" I thought to myself.

How many people get to say goodbye to their loved ones right before they pass on? A huge part of the pain that the bereaved contend with is simply that they didn't get to say goodbye. Many think back to the very last time they got to speak with or spend time with the deceased. It is even less bearable when that last time spent together or that last conversation was wasted on hurtful words and anger.

I remembered also an episode of a very popular comedy that I watched about five close friends. One lost his dad and that particular episode was all about their time together at the funeral being there for their best friend. As they all got together, the one who'd lost his father began to think back on what his father's last words were to him since he wasn't with him at his death. He made a big deal out of needing those last words from his father to be meaningful. Fortunately, he found a pending voice message on his phone left by his father not long before he died telling him how much he loved him and was proud of him. He broke down and wept at the closure that gave him. The episode ended with each of the other four friends calling home to speak to their own parents to tell them how much they loved them and committing themselves to always end conversations with loved ones by assuring them of their love and care for them just in case that conversation ended up being their last.

For those of you who have gotten to say goodbye to that special someone you lost, take comfort in the opportunity God gave you to do so. It is a rarity! And since there's nothing we can do about our loved ones who have already gone without a proper goodbye and since we are not likely to have the privilege of saying goodbye to those who remain, we must not take life for granted but love our closest friends and family in such a way that when they die, even though we may not be there to assure them of our love for them, they will already know, even as they breath their last, that we truly did love them.


Bahudi said...

Good read Biggie. I tend to think issues of death seem to benignly suggest death of the aged. The truth of death is far inclusive than that. This is obviously not what you are saying in your post but I include it because saying goodbye to the dying affects all ages.
You also touched on the value of living free from hurtful words. Many live with this baggage and so closure is hard.
Thank sir