Goodbye is not the end

12/15/2021, 9:00:00 PM

It has been more than a decade since I lost my dad, and just about a year ago, Rafael, one of my best friends, passed away.

I said goodbye to one of them.

My dad's last years were basically full of frequent visits to hospitals and after a while I just started getting accustomed to them. "He'll leave us for a day or two, but eventually come back, always stronger". Until, one day, he didn't come back.

In retrospective, it does seem strange that a person would sleep in ICU for multiple days and come back stronger than before; but I guess it's just one of the many wonders he was able to pull... most probably because he knew it still was early for him to leave his young kids.

As his death caught me at a very young age, I don't think I was able to assimilate or understand what happened. Or maybe I did and I just did not want to believe it. To believe that he was not just sleeping and that I won't see him wake up anymore. Maybe that's why when I dream of him, it always starts with him waking up. Regardless, one thing is for sure: I did not cry until a decade has past. At least not while I was awake. I believed the reason was that I never said goodbye to him.

Not saying goodbye, and never being able to anymore, almost felt like this one event I will have to regret for the rest of my life... Almost.

I was able to say goodbye to Rafael though. I was with him all the way to the end and I made sure I did not miss any of his last moments or be afraid of them. I have regretted one goodbye and was determined to never do it again. It was extremely sad in his last moments, but I felt happy and brave to be there, as I knew that I belonged to his deathbed. And so when I lost him, I cried like I never did before. This time awake.

And for some time, I felt good. I thought I was able to close a chapter for once. I have cried for it. And with our goodbye I have at least put an end to our relationship. A ceremonial end. I was able to talk about him to people bravely, and was sure that I was ready to do it furtherly without suffering or tearing about him...

A year after his death, the first dream of Rafael took place, and with it a new descent into the abyss. I felt like I was in day one again. How could I? Didn't I properly end that relationship? I know why I still suffer my dad's death, but how come Rafael's feels equally hard again? Didn't I already say goodbye?

I guess, with both, I never ended any chapter. In fact, none of the relationships had an end. I feel like a goodbye didn't change much.

Both still feel very alive everyday. I see them in the world surrounding me, in every parent and every friend, and I see them in me, in the lessons I learned and in the jokes that I stole from them. Their history feels like a passage to my future.

Thanks to Rafael, I learned that goodbye was not what I needed. What makes it easier everyday is knowing that I was there, with them, from the very beginning. That I have lived, learned, loved and laughed with them. That I shared so many moments that I will be able to reminisce and prepare through life with.

Goodbye was never the end. And, although it damn sure makes it easier, it's more like a blissful continuum.

Six weeks since I let you go,
and I still feel the same