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The Freedom that Comes with Saying Goodbye

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Having experienced great losses in a short period of time, I found myself in a place of grief that sometimes seemed inescapable. It seemed that as quickly as I would gather my thoughts, they would fall apart again with the same speed.

After months of back and forth, I made the decision to seek counseling. One strategy that I learned in counseling, that continues to bless me, is that of saying goodbye and hello. Although I am not a 'counselor' but a coach, I share this with you in hopes that your life will benefit from the implementation of the same strategy.

Before I share more about the strategy, so that you will have an idea of where my emotions were after the transitions to life eternal of both my parents, I share the following look into my private journal entry:

As I lie here on the couch, in the middle of the day, listening to worship instrumentals, I find myself in tears and working to compose myself. As Amazing Grace is played so wonderfully on violin, my heart aches for you both! Somehow, I was suddenly thrust into remembering your absence and it still hurts, it still cuts, and the world still feels lonely without you!
I've felt no desperation like the desperation I feel when thoughts of you inundate my mind. I find it hard to breathe, much less contain myself. I still hear your voices and I thank God for that! I believe that I know what you would say, regardless of the situation. Oh, how I miss calling you to hear you say what I am sure you would. I guess that speaks to your dependability.
You could be counted on to be just who you were, regardless of the situation. I miss that. I miss you both quieting me down when I ranted and raved as though the world would end. Each in your own way, but producing the same calming effect.
Thank you for being those parents whose presence could be felt for years to come, even after you were gone from this earth. Thank you for being THAT mom and THAT dad, THAT confidant, and THAT friend. Thank you, for it is because you were THAT mom and THAT dad, that I can't give up and I can't quit even when I, so desperately, want to. Thank you for being THAT mom whose voice I can hear saying, (in your straight-to-the-point tone) "Well, you don't have a choice but to go on, unless you are gonna die too!". Thank you for being THAT dad whose voice I hear saying, (with a smirk on your face) "Aw foot, Squirt! Me and yo' mama are fine!"
It is because I can still hear your voices that I keep going, even on days like today, when missing you seems unending and unbearable!

This journal entry was penned 6 years after my dad transitioned and 3 years after my mom transitioned. It exemplifies the place I would often return to emotionally, until I sought the help of a local counselor. After my second meeting with the counselor, he told me that there was no need for me to return because he felt that he should be writing down what "I" was saying. His response came after I shared with him the different ways I had implemented the strategy of saying goodbye and hello that he had shared with me.

As I was challenged in the area of grief, the counselor shared that he had suffered a similar experience at the loss of his mother and found that returning to her graveside, at the anniversary of her death each year, helped him to say goodbye again, to what was and hello to the memories of what had been.

I implemented this strategy in saying goodbye to my parents' physical presence on the Earth and hello to the bountiful and blessed memories I have of them, but I also said goodbye to various other situations in my life. Sometimes, we fight so desperately to hold on to what was that we neglect to take advantage of what now is!

As time has progressed, I've needed to say goodbye less as, through emotional maturity, and Godly wisdom, I no longer return to the place I was when I penned the journal entry. When thoughts of my parents return to my mind, I say hello, rather than goodbye. I embrace the memories and look forward to the future.

I encourage you, take inventory of your life and make a decision to say goodbye to those things whose memories are holding you captive and say hello to all of the great possibilities, to make new memories, that lie ahead.

Kathryn Baker

Kingdom Life Coach

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