How Many Ways Are There To Say Goodbye?

Artwork by Zukellogs

Artwork by Zukellogs

Just how many ways are there to say goodbye to someone? To something? And I mean not the temporary separation, but the permanent absence in one’s life. How many ways are there to bid a final farewell? And how many among these are easy? Is there one?

How many ways are there to say goodbye?

When will you know it’s time?

We leave for a number of different reasons, varying immensely depending on the emotion and effects the person has been causing us. In my case, it always takes me forever to really say goodbye. There will be days when I will find myself swearing this is the end, and then next thing I knew I am staring back at their faces promising I won’t leave, that I’ll stay.

Isn’t that what we all want? To stay?

But I learned that staying will not always be the healthy choice. I learned that sometimes, no matter how much we intend to, we need to step back, turn around and walk the opposite way. I learned that this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re bad people, carelessly not fulfilling our own promises; nor that we’re pathological liars telling tales of remaining by one’s side when we don’t have any idea how to. I learned that sometimes, we ought to leave simply because we need to save ourselves. We need a life away from them, that their chapters in our book have simply came to its ultimate full stop. There are times when there will be no turning back, no matter how much we want to steal a glance.

I learned that sometimes, when things have gone a little too much for our dignity and soul to handle, we have to let go.

In my case, there haven’t been much ways to do so–the goodbye thing. And most of the time, this is because the person I am about to bid farewell to someone who doesn’t actually care. There are far too simpler ways to say goodbye to someone who doesn’t need you, but to a person who has cared for you in a way the world will never fully comprehend is a different story.

But it’s possible.

You can do it through a poem or a ballad, carefully tucked within a crisp sheet of scented paper that will be secretly left to his back pockets as you learn your way out the door while he is still fast asleep. Or through a phone call in a stormy night when everything is going wrong–when your mind is in haywire and he is desperately seeking answers for a love that’s gone wrong. Or through a decently arranged dinner meeting in a dignified restaurant in the outskirts of town where you both speak in between skilled silent whispers and soundless sighs and teary eyes.

Or you can do it through an open letter to be published in the Internet for the whole cyberspace to see.

You can have it done while you’re both walking in the park with hands at the back, squirming due to anxiety. You can sing a sad song of goodbye and let yourself cry as he finally realises what is about to happen. You can smile your sweetest smile–the exact one he fell for when you met for the first time–and indicate your already packed bags for departure. You can let it slip through your friends, or your families, or your colleagues and let him have all the time he needs to process it–be it through grief or bitterness.

You can break it to him gently or in a harsh and fast way. You can explain. You can feel bad. You can think to yourself that you may not be able to do it.

But you have to.

Remember that regardless of the reasons that led you to this point, it’s not important how you do it, but how you end up deciding to do it for real.

Remember that it is for the best of both of you.

Written by  Arra Czarina Igno