Saying Goodbye.

My dog Hansel
This is Hansel. It was snowing. He was the best dog ever.

Yesterday, I had to say a painful and oppressively final goodbye to my dog Hansel. He was old but he was the best dog any girl on the contrary could ask for. He protected me when I felt threatened, he comforted me when I was afraid, and he soothed me when I was ill. In some ways, it felt like Hansel took care of me and not the other way around. He was an incredibly intelligent dog and had the sweetest heart. Saying goodbye was more awful than I could have ever imagined. I miss him.

So, I’ve been thinking about “goodbye”. Why do we say it? Where did it come from? And why does such a simple word hold such power. Goodbye can be liberating, sad, happy, thoughtful, kind, cruel, or confusing. Basically, choose any emotion and it can be goodbye.

Upon some light (very light) research, I discovered that the word “goodbye” is delineated from the phrase “God be with you”. Why did people say that? Well, my guess is that it’s because the plague and cholera and syphilis were ravaging the world and people were dying all over the place so it was best to part with a nice sentiment to send each other into the hereafter. Just a guess. Like I said, it was only light research.

As to why that word is so powerful….well, I think that’s because it feels final, even if it isn’t. I think that if we said “shark farts” to people in parting it would be just as powerful. Maybe even more so because now I’m wondering if sharks even fart and thinking that would actually add a deeper layer of mystery to the parting. Anyway, I think it is the act of parting or letting go that gives goodbye it’s power.

In case you were wondering why some people say “So long” it’s because it’s derived from the word “Salaam” which in Arabic is a parting phrase conveying the deepest levels of goodwill, but English people heard it and thought everyone was saying “so long” so now we say that. True story. I think that’s probably why it doesn’t have the sting of “goodbye” because we aren’t even really saying the right thing or in the right language for that matter.

Just something I’ve been thinking about since yesterday. What do you think of goodbyes?

18 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye.

  1. I lost my greyhound Flash 2 years ago, I knew he had to be put down, so we had the vet come to the house. First, I gave Flash his favorite drink: Scotch & water. I had the Scotch without the water. The vet came and then he was gone. I was inconsolable. But then a friend told me not to be too selfish, that Flash had work to do elsewhere. Animals and sometimes humans, have huge spirits, such intuition… So I like to think that he is making someone very happy in some other universe right now. I hope that helps a bit. Attachment hurts.

  2. Sayruh says:

    I think goodbyes are horrible. I think even thinking about goodbyes is horrible.

    So sorry about your puppy.

    My own personal issue with goodbye is happening right now. Do I follow a job opportunity, several states and more than a day’s drive away, and say goodbye to a town that I have loved for ten years? Unlike yours, IF I say goodbye I know it doesn’t have to be final. Boy, it doesn’t make it any easier though. 😦

    I’ll catch you tomorrow. Shark farts!

  3. Sorry to hear about your pooch 😦

    Saying goodbye when it is to a person/animal/beloved pair of jeans… that kind of thing (although different in measure i am sure) is hard because we don’t want to say goodbye.

    Goodbye can be a really good word, letting go or removing of things that are hurting you or making you uncomfortable. Which is somewhat why I think we attach it to the loss as well. it is uncomfortable to feel at a loss, so saying goodbye is meant to make us feel better.

    Still, the words aren’t anything compared to the feeling. I am sure he was a great dog. ((hugs))

  4. I hate goodbyes. Not just goodbye to people but days.
    Like the last day of school was always a sad yearning goodbye. Saying goodbye at the end of the year makes me sad as well.
    I hate the end of eras cause it something final.

    So sorry about your baby. When I lost my Ruby I was beside myself. I felt like a lost a child!
    That might be extreme but hey I am not weighing love!

  5. Goodbyes – difficult, but oft-times necessary. Saying good-bye to loyal 4-leggers is rough. saying goodbye to 2-leggers is painful. saying goodbye to 2-leggers that are still among the living can be the toughest of all.

    my condolences….

  6. Awwwww, that’s so sad. RIP Hansel. I’m actually dreading the day I have to say goodbye (or shark farts) to my Princess, Kizzie.

    I tend to say, “See you later” rather than goodbye. Goodbye sounds so final, doesn’t it?

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