how to say goodbye

Kenya Barbosa-McCauley - Brazil


April 5, 2017

After we said our goodbyes and I drove away, tears rolled down my face and I bit the inside of my lip in an attempt to keep from sobbing out loud, even though I had already exploded in front of Mackenzie and Jordyn. I stared blankly out the window with tears rolling down my face, watching the fog roll over the hill and the fisherman packing up from the long night’s work. As I passed all of the places on the island, I thought of all the goodbye’s I had ever had to give. I thought about when I was 5 and my dad and I wasn’t mature enough to understand so I wasn’t able to say goodbye. I remember when we finally packed every last belonging and left our home in Guatemala. I was too young to understand that I would one day long for Lake Aititlan and the fresh Pitaya from my tree, so I thoughtlessly boarded the plane with no extra thought.  I remember when I left middle school, rushing my goodbye because I couldn’t wait to grow up. I wish i could have told myself at the time to preserve my innocence and enjoy my youth. I remember when I graduated, and while I admit this was one of the best days ever… i wish I allowed myself to get closure on what I had gone through in high school.

While it’s easy to look back and agonize over how I wished I had said goodbye differently, each one has led me to where I am today, and made me realize the importance of being here now and cherishing my moments in life. and to remember that be they little or small, they are all significant. It’s cheesy, but I have learned that there is no right way to say goodbye. It is inevitable and the most normalized pain we all seem to have to endure. Maybe that is why when we learn a new language, one of the first things we learn is how to say hello but also how to say goodbye.

If I could offer you all one piece of advice to hold in your heart, it would be to appreciate every second you have with the things that you love; be they places, objects or people…. Because there is a last time for everything and you don’t always get to know that it’s the last time when you’re in it. 

There will be a last time you see a sunrise, a last time you taste ice-cream and a last time you smell a rose. 

There will be a last time you enter every room, a last time you hold every pet, and a last time you hear a loved one’s voice. 

Sometimes we know we’re in those moments and we can savor every single last second of them – but so often we don’t know until that moment is gone and it’s too late to go back and relive it. 

I urge you to hold onto those moments while you have them… live inside them…. appreciate them to their fullest every time so you’ll never regret taking for granted one day when they’re gone. I urge you to be patient, be easy on yourself, and love more.

Kenya Barbosa-McCauley