How to Say Goodbye

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“I am not that great at goodbyes, but when I leave this time I’m going to look my friends in the eyes.”

By Ashley Mandanici | Twitter: @ashleymandanici

I am not that great at goodbyes.

People who, I think, are good at farewells are:

1. Oprah: “Oprah Winfrey, The Farewell Season.”

2. The Spice Girls: “Goodbye to the only Spice Girl who’s fictional name was actually a spice.”

3.  The Von Trapp Children: “Goodbye, Austria.”

People who, I think, are bad at goodbyes:

  1. Rose on the Titanic: You did let go, sweetie.

2. Cher with her “Farewell Tours” (notice how “tours” is plural?)

 3. Ashley Mandanici

I confess I am no Von Trapp kid (which is hard for me to admit on many levels) when it comes to saying goodbye. When faced with a goodbye I avoid eye contact, physical contact and crack inappropriate jokes.This is all in an effort to keep myself from breaking down into an embarrassing mess, clinging to friends and family’s legs in airports screaming, “NO, DON’T LEAVE ME!”

However, as charming as my off-coloured jokes may be, I am beginning to see that though denial works for me, it may not be that helpful or loving for those I am bidding adieu to.

[ Tonight, the role of the Tin Man will be played by …]

I have always had a hard time saying goodbye to my sister-in-law Ann. I love my sister Ann! I can talk to her about boys (I guess I should say “men” now that I’m 26), Jesus, fears, joys and children without feeling judged or criticized. She is amazing and lives way too far away from me. I always expect myself to have some dramatic tear-filled display of emotions when I say goodbye to her. Meanwhile she will cry, hug me and speak sweetly to me and I feel like my response is not short of punching her in the arm and calling her “slugger.”

I would love it if I could extend a more genuine goodbye to those I love, but my emotional displays are typically reserved for the privacy of my car, or the poor flight attendant who has to decipher whether I am tearing up because I am afraid to fly or because the guy next to me has a smell about him.

“So sweetly she bade me adieu, I thought that she bade me return.” – William Shenstone

I am leaving for my five-month adventure to Uganda in less than a month and more than ever I feel the pressure of saying goodbye well. I feel like I need to line up all of my friends in front of a live studio audience to give a heartfelt speech about taking care of each other while I am gone, and how they shouldn’t worry because it is only a matter of time until I am back on their regular scheduled programming. I could give out outrageously sensational gifts and hug people, and cry, and video tape it all so they could watch it back on DVD when they miss me. Sadly though, I don’t have the time or the budget for that … I am also not Oprah.

I fear that, unlike my friend Oprah, my goodbye would not be worthy of capturing in a five-box DVD set. There would be no mascara dripping down my face, no snot bubbles erupting from my nose … nothing prime time worthy. I do not set myself up for emotional goodbyes; I make them quick–like a band-aid being ripped off a hairy arm. There is no part of me that desires a good ugly cry at the airport.

But there is a reason that Oprah averaged 16.4 million viewers for her final show—people want the snot, the mascara, the tears and the musical numbers. People want to know they are loved so much that saying goodbye is hard.

“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”- George Eliot

I am not that great at goodbyes, but when I leave this time I’m going to look my friends in the eyes. I’m going to hug them for an inappropriately long amount of time. I’m going to say something that means something; something that isn’t a joke. And I’m going to hope that my real farewell is an outward confirmation that I love them so much that goodbye was hard.

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My dear SheLoves friends:

  • What tactics do you have for saying goodbye?
  • Is there a goodbye moment that sticks in your mind?

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About Ashley:

My name is Ashley and I am the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Relate Church in Surrey, B.C. My mission is to develop the God-given potential in every child who crosses my path *Insert Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” here*. I love all things jazzy, particularly music, and I tend to break into song throughout the day for no apparent reason. I blog here and tweet @AshleyMandanici

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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