Before Saying Goodbye

Having said our goodbyes, the car reversed out of the driveway, last waves were had, forward the wheels rolled down the road, before turning the corner and going out of view.

The loaned reality of sorrow struck once more. It won’t always be like this. I won’t always have the privilege of seeing this, of having had these visits, even though I know I take them for granted. Even though these events of interaction seem to be ongoing and never ending, one day – one day too soon – it will be all over.

The heart longs in gentle anguish when it ponders what it cannot control.

I can’t remember when I first had the vision, but I’ve had it so many times, and almost every time my parents leave our home.

As we stand there waving from the bottom of the driveway, I look at my son, just as I used to look at my daughters who are all now grown up, and wonder what he’s thinking. As my parents’ car disappears from view, as he runs back to me from the corner, and we make our slow walk back to the front door, God causes me to reflect on the eternity in that moment.

What happens routinely we’re meant to take for granted.

It would be so draining on our energy levels if we were to be so highly attuned to our emotions all the time. In this way, we are saved from emotional exhaustion, but we also pay for our having taken these things for granted when we experience loss. And that is okay. Provided we understand that loss brings grief and grief means pain, and this pain we bear, because it is love’s fault. And how can we criticise love?

My parents won’t be around forever. I know that. I mourn that fact, even now, still while they’re alive. What I’m granted is the precious gift of vision that may inevitably make their passing more palatable when that time comes. I am enamoured of the concept of life and death because, for example, what my parents mean to me, that I cannot keep them forever. I think of any family member in the same way.

It is good that we make the most of missing our loved ones before they’re gone.

This way we prepare ourselves for the inevitable; for that time ahead when they do actually go. When we miss them now we don’t tend to put off as much of what might never otherwise come to pass. We take action now, while we can.

We never know when life will change. Immeasurably. Irrevocably.