My goodbyes

I have revisited the concept of saying goodbye, as mentioned in a previous post, repeatedly this year.

I’ve said many goodbyes.

Each one has been unique in meaning. All of them have been connected by the process of my integration.

A process that helps me to savor what I loved about the people who are gone.

To mourn the losses in my imagination as I tell now-fictional stories about their potential futures.

To help me receive empathy so I can focus on supporting those who are still here.

To reconnect me to life’s fragile beauty.

I’d like to share the process I went through for one person last month as I begin the process for another today.

Last month, I said goodbye to my mentor, Josh Stone. He taught me the ABCs of sports medicine (Anatomy, Biomechanics, and Common Sense). He showed me how to balance a rigorous work ethic with child-like play. He battled lung cancer for years and throughout the journey wielded strength that will not be forgotten by his community, family, and son. Before I said goodbye to him, as well as to the others I’ve said goodbye to, I went through the process of noticing, feeling, needing, and acting.

With Josh’s goodbye, I noticed a heaviness in my chest, tears in my eyes, and a retraction of my mandible.

I felt sad as I thought of his wife, Shagra, and son, Holden. I felt vulnerable when I thought of my own wife and sons.

I needed connection, community, camaraderie, contribution, and empathy.

My actions were strategies to meet those needs. I meditated for connection to Self. I called friends that knew Josh to give and receive empathy as well as reminisce about our times with him.

These steps prepped the soil where the seed of my goodbye was planted. The more attention and nourishment I give to the soil, the more likely the seed will make it to full bloom.

Everyday is a goodbye to yesterday.

Every just now is a goodbye to just then.

The better we get at saying goodbye to what has come to pass, the better we become at saying hello to what has arrived.

Goodbye, Samya Stumo. Hello to life having known your adventurous nature and having had the honor of serving you.

Goodbye, Jake Phelps. Hello to the part of me that wants to skateboard for the rest of my life.

Just starting my process this morning as I begin to say goodbye to Jason Tabick. Hello to the sensations of tension in my forehead and pit of my stomach. Hello to the feelings of sadness, disbelief, and horror. See you soon to my needs of camaraderie, safety, and certainty.

Thank you for listening.

This is a healing practice.