Saying goodbye


I’m not a long goodbye kind of person. I’m really more of a see ya later kind of guy. You know the type, the person who can say see ya and then leave even if you are going away for a long trip as if you were just going to the store. A long goodbye is kind of awkward for me, don’t get me wrong I appreciate the emotions, it’s just that I would rather get to the journey. I’ll miss the person, but saying goodbye for me should be quick and easy.

It’s not always the way it is though.  Right now my Brothers and Sisters and I find ourselves in what Nancy Reagan called “the long goodbye” See our Mom has dementia. So I’m learning how to be a long goodbye kind of person. It’s not always easy or fun. Though there are times that are incredibly funny, there are also times of intense deep sadness and awkwardness.

On of the funniest times happened a few years ago. See Mom was born and spent her early years in New Bedford Massachusetts. Her Maternal Grandparents spoke mostly french (they were french Canadian). So she grew up bilingual. She was telling my youngest Sister and I about how she sung the french national anthem in school along with the American National anthem.

When one of us said “really, how does the french national anthem go?”. So she broke out into song …”‘OH CANADA!”  Of course my Sister and I started to laugh because it was so spontaneous, and was not the french national anthem! And Mom being Mom just laughed right along with us.

Another funny thing happened shortly after we had to place her. I went to see her and found her eating in the dinning hall. I sat down beside her as she announced to the whole hall “Guy’s be quite, I have something to say!” “This is my son and you all better behave!” (Mom taught elementary school). She didn’t stop there though when the Nurse Aid came over to check on her, Mom introduced me by saying: “This is my Brother Dan.” I corrected her (Something I’ve quit doing!) and said “Mom I’m your son.” She then looked at the Nurse aid and said “He’s really not, he is my brother he just thinks he’s my son. He’s shy around pretty nurses.”

Yep, in this long goodbye there have been numerous times of laughter, after all it helps to alleviate the pain and stress. It’s good to laugh, Yet the sadness is there as well mingled together like a distorted image in a broken mirror, it reminds me of a verse  in Proverbs

Prov 14:13 Even in laughter a heart may be sad, and joy may end in grief.

Our goodbye isn’t over yet. So for now our laughter will will come from sad hearts, but we will laugh anyway!

Mom holding her great grandson, my grandson. One of the last pictures of her in her home.

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