By Paige Zuckerman, Clinical Director
Having to Say Goodbye
Goodbyes are a generally a thankless experience that we tend to want to avoid, minimize or defer. They are some of our most vulnerable human moments, and we humans are historically not so naturally adept at vulnerability. Our fear of goodbyes (be the transitions, death or change of any fashion) all too often prevents us from standing in the power of that process.
There are Pearls to be Found
I challenge us to take a moment to bow to the grateful and profound energy of goodbye. Sometimes our most brilliant capacity to grow, wisen, affirm and appreciate is borne from the inevitable farewells of our lifetimes. There’s something to be said for the beauty in things not
meant to last; maybe we cherish them more deeply.
I’m a lover of the notion of “memento mori,” an ancient concept that translates to ‘remember that you will die.’ This phrase calls to our awareness the deep, abiding impermanence of life, and the
treasure of that ephemeral truth. In the art world, memento mori served as a movement-of-sorts to depict withering flowers, melted candles and bleached skulls to symbolize the transience of mortal life. Art saw memento mori as profoundly lovely.
If you are facing a farewell, perhaps you can pause to breathe in the beauty of the experience. Perhaps you can feel the deep love and appreciation for what was, and the lovely ache of what is. Perhaps goodbye is a teacher, not an enemy. Let us hold with that for a moment.