It’s so hard to say good-bye

I recently had the honor of attending a culminating banquet for high school students who completed a special summer program at a local university. The teens and faculty demonstrated emotions and sentiments of pride, joy, and celebration for all the hard work and effort each put into their academics during the six-weeks they spent together. I understood that such excitement is natural and comes with the territory whenever a group has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. What I did not expect, however, were the tears that followed soon after the celebration. Students and peer advisors cried as they embraced to say their good-byes.

It got me thinking – why do we cry when we say good-bye, even though we will most likely see the other person again? The plain and simple truth is that we are not guaranteed another day, and perhaps that one good-bye could be our final good-bye. We cry because we do not know how to say good-bye without emotion. Some are good at departing from someone who became a part of their life. Others, on the other hand, suck at it (yours truly being part of that group). There are even those who completely avoid it all together. Some of these tricks in avoiding the inevitable “good-bye” moment (as found at includes:

  1. Distancing ourselves from that loved one
  2. Getting angry at the other person
  3. Acting needy
  4. Avoiding saying good-bye all together
  5. Crying

These can be considered stages that a person goes through when a relationship is about to end as well, but it depends on the individual saying good-bye or being sent away. Regardless of our role in the departure (whether the departing or the departee), we can handle it graciously, or with all the social tact of an aardvark on an anthill.

In the fourth and fifth installments of The Last Prophet book series, we begin to see how difficult it is to say good-bye to those who mean so much to us. Some would consider these good-byes permanent and eternal, while others see this as a another stage in life and merely a different form of existence until we can all be together again. Whatever your views on death and the existence of an afterlife, saying good-bye is still never easy and comes with feelings of finality.

Whatever role we play in the good-bye process, one thing is clear to me. If you want that person to return, perhaps sending them off with your genuine sentiments is best. The students I mentioned earlier sent each other off with well wishes, fond memories, and a lot of love. Because of this, I have no doubt that when they meet each other again, they will only form stronger bonds and remember all they survived together.

How do you say good-bye? Comment in the space provided.

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