the problem with goodbyes

the problem with goodbyes 

is that they become cumulative, 

each a reminder of all those before. 

a wave of the hand whispers 

of months of heartache; 

a hug murmurs 

of those embraced for the last time; 

tears retell  

of agonizing cries aimed heavenward. 

the “see you soons” pile up into a reasonless hill 

of sorrow for the faces I’ve seen no more. 

each goodbye leads to a new hello, they say, 

but more certain is that each hello ends in goodbye. 

is “bittersweet” a cop-out for the faint of heart? 

yet I am faint of heart. 

the bitter ties my heart in knots that ease with time 

but clench again at triggers of farewells, 

turning of leaves, 

cars pulling away, 

reminders of mortality. 

am I the only one 

who has developed a ptsd 

from funerals, 

from graduation, 

from airports, 

from bonfires? 

love is sacrifice, 

love is unreasonable and stupid, 

love is painful and gut-wrenching and I saw it all coming. 

I saw it all coming. 

but somehow it’s worth it. 

I will say hello again 

even as I wince from the whiplash of a hundred crashes with reality. 


I know one who says a thousand goodbyes every day.

I know one whose heart breaks into more pieces than mine. 

we cry together over this sick, sad state of everyday sorrows, 

and begin again. 

I don’t know why 

except that I must,


to love is to be human, 

and I tremblingly hold to my humanity.

I wrote this piece after yet another dear friend left university for the summer. I was struck by the deep ache that I knew wasn't just a single "goodbye," but a result of the constancy of farewell. I went into little wilderness area behind the school, sat on the edge of the bridge over the creek, and suddenly found myself typing all these words on my phone as I looked out over this swampy, deathly beautiful scene. 


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