“Child. Never say, good bye.”
My Grandmother believed “good bye” was an uttered death knell, a cursed spell, a forgetting.
She said, “See you soon.”
I’ll never forget our last Sunday. The year was 1969. The Maple trees, with leaves the colours of sunset, fenced the property. Wind blew off the lake. I wore a leather mini skirt- the height of fashion. My younger sister wore the vest. In the morning, we’d board a flight which would vault us to the east coast and a new life. Neither of us wanted to leave what was familiar: Sunday dinners and family, friendships and home. I placed one hand upon the door handle and paused. My heart pitched.
“Good bye, Grandma.”
“Child. Never say ‘good bye.’ Say, ‘See you soon.’ ”
People give and then they take away. We live, learning to bear their fingerprints, on our hearts. The most painful good byes are the ones left unexplained.
My grandmother never spoke of ‘The Old Country’ and the home she’d left. No one dared speak of the past while in her presence. It was forbidden. She was a woman who had endured that which is unbearable. With grace, she had learned to look straight on, to not stumble.
I’ve never been too good about ‘good bye.’ Even, ‘see ya,’ sticks to my tongue. I keep those I love forever and leave in silence. I hold to hope. Somewhere down the line, we’ll meet again, we’ll be together.