No one really talks about these days. Sometimes they come on so fast, we don’t have time to process. Other times, the slow and steady loss suspends us in a place of deferred denial.

But, here we are.
A collective middle group.

Managing these moments, making up our long goodbyes.

I think about all the time in my life that I have invested in teaching, leading and focussing on all stages of family life. But, I missed this one part. It wasn’t on my agenda, not part of my teaching plan.

Yet it’s a time we all have to face, that we often don’t get to fully process because we’re not prepared. We are in the middle of it before we even realize it has arrived.

We celebrate all the big milestones of life. We hang the banners, have the parties and buy the balloons. But we don’t always know how to celebrate as we say good bye.

Because it’s not a party,
and goodbye is hard.

But life.
Life always deserves to be celebrated.

In our longest goodbye, I brought her the flowers and hung up the lights she couldn’t even see. I took the precious pictures now tucked away on my phone, now my greatest treasures.

And I keep talking about it all. So much that it’s probably become like a dripping sound, but I know it’s the sound I’m meant to make.

If we cheer and celebrate the first moments of a life, we must also honour that same life, well-lived, even in the hardest last days.

We must learn how to say our goodbyes.

So, I told her all the stories, and held her hand even as she took her last breath. Surrounded by the rose blooms from her garden, bits of beauty in the middle of that heart-shattering day.

It was worth it all. I feel it now even more as I live farther and farther from that last day.

Maybe you need to hear that too, as you walk your tender path – whatever you are on the journey.

You are not alone.

🩷There is always hope, and joy can even be found, in your longest goodbyes.

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The Longest Goodbye