Goodbye, farewell, keep in touch, take care… We all have a parting statement, a go-to when we leave, or someone leaves us. Some people avoid it by saying, “This is not a good bye, but a see you soon.” They avoid the word goodbye in an attempt to avoid the reality of the departure, the perceived loss. We cannot avoid what is inevitable. People come into our lives, and people leave our lives. Society has taught us how to acquire items and failed at teaching us how to say goodbye.
Grief is a normal and natural response to loss, a reaction to change of any kind;. It is the words left unspoken, the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve thoughts and questions. It’s the goodbyes that we wish we would have said. Not all of us have the opportunity to say goodbye. Until it is you experiencing the sudden loss, “tomorrow is never guaranteed” is just a cliché. We often take for granted the moments, the opportunities to communicate what we think, how we feel, what we really want to be heard. If the words are not said than the reality can be avoided, the strong feelings of loss do not actually exist if not spoken out loud, the change is not actually occurring if not acknowledged.
Saying goodbye is important. Saying goodbye is a necessary life skill that cannot continue to be avoided. Saying goodbye is recognizing the role that person, place, or event had on our lives. The goodbye is an honor to ourselves, to our past, to what we once knew, what we experienced, choices made, mistakes made, and the experiences that influenced who we presently are in this moment. A goodbye is healthy, it provides closure, and it allows the start of a new chapter. Not having closure creates the opportunity for unfinished business to trickle over into the next chapter.
Goodbye is not only for losing loved ones. Goodbye is for letting go of what once was, so you can embrace what can be. Goodbye to jobs, goodbye to a home, a marriage, a town, your health, financial status, the laundry and chaos of having a teenager at home who is transitioning to college, goodbye to your “child” who is now an adult and married. All deserving of being acknowledged, all deserving of recognizing what was so that you can create what can be.
If anything in life is guaranteed it is that life itself is not a guarantee. We will never be able to control all things, life happens and a person may be left with questions, a hole, conflict, regret, or confusion. The opportunity will never again occur to say what you feel, to communicate what you think, to resolve the problems, make amends, and acknowledge what you had.
When you choose to say goodbye you are making a conscious choice to acknowledge the emotions. It is not always the easiest choice to make but more often than not, verbalizing the goodbye is the healthiest choice. Letting yourself feel what is being experienced in the present moment is where healing occurs.
This is me acknowledging my goodbyes. Effective August 7, I will no longer be at Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health. In October of 2018, my husband relocated to the Columbus area for his career. After 10 months of commuting I will be officially joining him in Columbus. Over the past several months I have acknowledged many goodbyes: we sold what we thought was our forever home, we said goodbye to our children’s school, their friends, and the relationships I built along the way, I processed through the loss of small town community and packed by bags for city life. I have expressed the bittersweet emotions of leaving an organization that I have been part of for more than 5 years, the great relationships developed with my colleagues, and the patients who I have been privileged to work with. I have never enjoyed public speaking and writing was never my strong suit, yet I find myself acknowledging the opportunities I have received in the past few years, and saying goodbye to what has become my new normal.
It is impossible to avoid the goodbye to what was my normal, my predictable routine, the relationships I developed, and the growth that I personally experienced. I have completed my chapter as a clinical counselor at Fisher-Titus and I am closing the book on small town living in Milan. I am letting go of all that I hoped for, the desire for my children to enroll at one school and develop long term friendships, and the goal to complete 25 years at Fisher-Titus. I am embracing what can be, holding onto all that I have learned, the experiences gained and opportunities that have been provided. I am letting go of what was, the normal patterns of behavior, and embracing change.
Rachel Velishek is a licensed professional clinical counselor. Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health is located in Fisher-Titus Medical Park 2, Suite C, 282 Benedict Ave., Norwalk and provides counseling services for all ages. Their office can be reached at 419-668-0311. For more information on Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health, visit fishertitus.org/behavioral-health.