After the last conversation I had with The Old Man while he was still clear enough to speak I told him, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Pop.”
I never said the word, “Goodbye,” because the word goodbye is too permanent and I was too afraid of losing him.
I never say the word goodbye to loved ones or friends.
I say, “I’ll talk to you later.”
Real friends never say goodbye.
They say, “I’ll see you around.”
Whenever later comes and no matter how much time spreads between us, real friends or loved ones can speak as if they picked up exactly where they left off.
I am fortunate that while I do not have many, the true friends I have are friends that I can depend on. And because of this, no matter where I go, and no matter how far apart we may be or whatever time goes between us, I will never say goodbye.
Goodbye is something you say to something you need to get rid of. Goodbye is something you say to someone you don’t like or a vice you need to quit.
Goodbye is something you say to a bad girlfriend or to a teacher in a class you hated or barely passed.
If the word goodbye is permanent, then we should only say goodbye to something or someone we never want to see again.
As a practice, over the years I have written several goodbye letters. I wrote a goodbye letter to my addiction. I wrote one to my depression. I have written several for each major change in my life. I have written goodbye letters at the end of bad relationships as well as a goodbye letter to the end of a bad marriage. These letters were not addressed to anyone. They were addressed to me and the aspects of my life, which I needed to change.
I said goodbye to the habits that kept me sick. I said goodbye to the lies I told myself as well as the lies I believed from everyone else. I said goodbye to my doubt and goodbye to the lies that came as a result from it.
Doubt has a way of keeping us stationary—so I said goodbye to a life of standing still.
Goodbye: Farewell. An expression of parting.
I said goodbye to people who I once thought were friends but found out they were not.
I said goodbye to an old boss that I never liked.
I said goodbye to the life I had before the life I live now.
I said goodbye to my memories of guilt and goodbye to my secrets.
I let go of each of these heavy aspects.
I let them go to sink like a stone at the bottom of the ocean.
The last time I spoke to you was on June 6, 2015.
I never said “Goodbye,” Mom.
I said, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
I’m looking forward to whenever that tomorrow comes.
I have a few things to tell you.
But for now, I will continue with my letters.
So much is in the works right now.
I am going through a major change, but this change is a good one.
Soon enough, the snow will come and I will think of you and your cinnamon toast. Soon the weather will become colder and I will think about your mashed potato recipe, which I’ve done well with—but I could never duplicate your chicken cutlets.
It’s been a few months since you passed. I haven’t seen a butterfly in a while.
I like the butterflies . . .
I liked the one that landed on my shoulder on 42nd Street. I hardly ever see butterflies in New York City—let alone see one land on my shoulder.
Last butterfly I saw was with my good friend Vin when we had a “Boy’s Weekend,” and took his two youngest sons for a walk on the beach at Robert Moses.
Vin showed me the butterfly and said, “See? That’s your mother checking up on you.”
I miss you Mom.
I wish you were here to see what’s going on. I wish you were here to help me pick out colors for the new living room and the new kitchen.
I wish I could hear your voice or hear what you would say if you saw the new house.
I know you would tell me, “I’m proud of you son,” and other people tell me that I should trust that you are proud . . . but it just ain’t the same thing as hearing you say it.
I was thinking about your last visit before the surgeries took away your ability to stand up well or walk without help. You stayed in Rachel’s room for the week. It must have been nice for you to see where your granddaughter slept.
You read all of my manuscripts from cover to cover. The only time you came out of the bedroom was to ask for more of my stories. As a writer, I don’t think I’ve ever been paid anything quite as valuable as this.
I am grateful you saw this house. I am grateful that you sat at my dinner table and ate with us.
No matter how times were in this house; whether things were good or bad, we always made sure to eat well. I’m glad you were here to see that.
I won’t be here this Thanksgiving. Claire and I will be in our new home. And you—you will have your first Thanksgiving with The Old Man since 1989.
I still won’t say goodbye, Mom.
Goodbye is too permanent
I’ll just say the same thing as I said when we were on the phone last.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”