To friends, when words have been spoken too quickly in anger or actions have been taken without proper thinking and you just have that instantaneous unquestionable feeling that you will never be able to fix what you once had. To grudges, when I’ve realized the hurt I am holding onto isn’t worth not having that person in my life. To guilt, when I’ve tried my best to fix my mistakes and honestly believe there is nothing else that I can really do.
To innocence, as I have acted in ways and had things acted upon me that knocked that the-world-is-such-a-perfect-place-where-I-am-always-safe-mindset clean out of me. To security, as I have had to adjust to the adult notion that bad things happen to good people and nothing in life is ever really all that certain.
To parts of myself, as I changed whether purposefully or unintentionally, for better or for worse, into the person I am at this moment. To certain dreams, as I have found some to be less practical with age, and some have quite frankly been crushed by forces outside of my control while I still tried to hold on, and I find myself, in defense, quickly trying replace them with others that I feel momentarily more secure in making come true.
To the neighborhood I grew up in, as I left for college leaving the place and the people I had always known as home behind, completely failing to comprehend the degree to which that place and those people would become so staunchly unfamiliar that each time I went back I would feel a little more alien and a little more confused about which “me” was the real one. To the dog who will always define my childhood, as I now feel crazy admitting, while I sobbed with my face stuffed into his stiff dead body as my dad and I drove him to the local pet crematorium; and goodbye again as we later scattered his ashes amongst the creek and forest in the park we used to walk him in at the end of my dead-end street and I wondered how the remains of such a large animal could suddenly be stuffed into such a small canister.
The scary kind, when you’re a little worried that it may be the last time you see that person for whatever reason, whether it be the fear of death or fear of falling out of touch, and you hug them a little tighter for a little longer than you usually would and try to push that anxiety into some corner of your mind where you won’t ever find it again – except you always manage to dig it up when you lay in bed on those sleepless nights, thoughts racing about everything that could ever possibly go wrong.
The final kind, when you have a quick conversation with a stranger in line and whether it was love at first sight or completely inconsequential the odds of you two bumping into each other ever again are slim to none. The final kind, when you know that whatever variation of “never speak to me again” really means that you’re never going to speak again. The final kind, when you hover over the casket, say a quick prayer whether you believe in God or not, and then can’t seem to grab hold of a hand that still has life in it fast enough.
The fake kind, when maybe the goodbye is actually giving you a sense of relief or maybe you really just don’t care that you’re parting ways, but you put on your best act and pretend to because something inside you tells you that you should. The thoughtless kind, as you leave a party, maybe giving a light kiss on a cheek or a quick hug, banking on the belief that you’ll get the chance to see that person again soon.
* Originally published on Thought Catalog http://thoughtcatalog.com/seamus-kirst/2014/04/all-the-goodbyes-i-have-said-in-my-lifetime/ *