The Last Goodbye!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life."
                     - Jean Paul Richter (German Novelist and humorist, 1763-1825)
We all have busy...hectic lives. We leave each a hurry...rushing out...from wherever we are to wherever we have to be...wherever that somewhere else may be. Always rushing. Always in a hurry. And we don't always say what we want to whomever... because we automatically think that today is like every other day in the past and that there will still be time to say what we want to say...later! Tomorrow! The day after tomorrow! Even next week. But what happens if next week isn't there? What happens if the day after tomorrow is not there? What happens if tomorrow is not there? What if...30 minutes from now is not there...for you...or, for whomever?
What didn't you say? Or...What did you say and maybe you shouldn't have?
I grew up in a family where "I Love You"  didn't come out often. At least I don't remember them (could be Alzheimer). I'm sure someone in my family will correct me if my recollection is wrong. I would like to believe that we were, and still are, a close family. We had and have our disagreements, just like everybody else's families, and on occasion some of us would stop talking to others in the family for a while. But over time, we all start talking to each other again. We all know we all care for each other. Even without the words. But does adding those 3 little words make a difference? Instead of "assuming" or "just knowing", does adding certain  words make a difference to the person saying the words and to the person receiving them? Does NOT saying them make a difference?
If growing up by not saying those 3 little words is correct, then maybe that is the reason I didn't say "I Love You" to my kids as often as I should have when they were growing up. It was a comfort level that I didn't have to say those words. Love was shown with hugs and actions, but not words. That changed, I believe, once the distance between us expanded. When Katrine left for Australia for 4 months, her emails, text messages and MSN chats were all signed off with "Love You". Then Nick left for Basic Training and the same happened there. Alexis and I left for a month in July, and then we were all "away from home" and the messages, text, email and MSN chats all contained "Love You". Now we don't have a "conversation" without finishing off with those 2 or 3 little words.
But what about other people. Those people you normally won't, or don't say "those" words to. Do we leave without saying words we want to say to them? Any words? Good job! You look great today! Great smile! I care! Or maybe we said some words we later regret? Do we call them up right away to apologize? Or to say "the Right words"? What about really caring for someone and never telling them that you do because you are afraid they won't feel the same? There are so many situations where we don't say what we know we should say...but don't...because we either think we can do it later...or are afraid...or we just don't think about it.
Last night I watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy. A young man, out parachuting when his parachute doesn't open, ends up in the hospital. He falls 12,000 feet to certain death. But he lands in a bush and with the exception of a few bruises is OK. Feeling invincible he believes he can do or say anything. But circumstances prevent him from saying what he wants to say to his parachute instructor. The Interns, hearing that there was a video camera on the guys helmet, get a copy of the DVD and watch the freefall. In it, the guy believing he is about to die, professes his love for his skydiving instructor. Now, no longer feeling invincible and losing his nerve, he confesses to the intern that he cannot say those words to the instructor, because, as he states, "she's out of my league".
Why do we wait until we cannot hear the answer that will give us happiness to say something because we are afraid of the negative answer? Maybe the answer that is least likely...except in our own mind! Take a chance! What's the worst that can happen? Compare that to what's the best that can happen!  
April 16, 2007. Blacksburg, Virginia.
7 months, to the day, I drove by Blacksburg, Virginia. That was this morning. The name of this town in western Virginia didn't mean much to me. What did mean something to me as I drove by was another sign I saw...Virginia Tech. 7 months ago 32 people were killed at this University. 5 faculty members and 27 students died this day at the hands of a mentally ill undergraduate student. Before leaving on my Journey I had a thought about this shooting. I wanted to find out exactly where in Virginia this occurred. I never did do the research. In yesterday's blog I assumed the chance meeting with Bill and Joy were to direct me to the amazing natural sights. Now, I believe it was to remind me of this "unfinished" business I had in finding more out about this tragic event.
How many "Last Goodbye" were said that fateful before...or week before, 7 months ago. How many regretful, "I didn't say...." or "I wanted to tell them....." or "Why did I get mad at them this morning for...." were thought or said later that day or week?
"The Last Goodbye!" Goodbyes are usually sad occasions. A child's first day at school. A teenager moving away from friends. A student heading off to University in a different city. A soldier heading off to war. A father, or mother, leaving on a business trip. An elderly parent moving into a long-term care facility. A friend dying of cancer. We think of goodbyes as sad occasions. But saying good-bye doesn't have to be melancholy. Sometimes saying good-bye is the only way we realize how meaningful something has been. We appreciate how meaningful the time we did have together was. We must always make sure we say our goodbyes with No Regrets. If it does happen to be our last goodbye, we are able to be sad, but in our hearts we will know that all that had to be said has been said.
And so that I do not have any regrets may this wish be My Wish to all of you. (I couldn't have said it better myself)
My Wish by Rascal Flatts
I hope that days come easy and moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

More then anything, more then anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it,
To your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more then you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And you always give more then you take.

Oh More then anything, Yeah, and more then anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it,
To your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more then you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
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