“Goodbye” is still a tough word to say

by | January 11, 2018 6:31 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

A couple days after Christmas, we left our 8-month-old boxer with her friends at the vet’s office. She was so excited. “Goodbye” is not in her vocabulary yet, but it was still tough for us to leave her, knowing how much she would miss us when she realized we were gone. We really missed her for the next week, too, but we spent the next six days with our two granddaughters.

Annabelle and Katie Grace were so entertaining as we drove to Williamsburg to see the sights, shop, ride the ferry, shop, eat, shop, worship at Bruton Parish Church, shop, try to stay warm and…shop. The cousins were so much fun. Annabelle made sure K.G. was buckled into her car seat; K.G. said funny stuff; both of them giggled a lot; and they both said “Nahnee” so many times that Sammie threatened to change her name. It was exhausting, but we made a lot of memories.

New Year’s Day, we connected with Annabelle’s family at a Chick-fil-A near Richmond. Eyes dancing and words flowing a mile a minute from her little motor mouth, Annabelle greeted her mom and dad and brothers with gifts from her shopping spree – she is definitely the sharing/caring type. All morning she had rattled on and on about how happy she would be to see her family. Then, with a faraway look in her eye she would add, “But I’ll miss Katie Grace and Nahnee and Papa.” It was such a happy reunion, tempered only with the sadness of “goodbye.”

After dropping off Annabelle, we headed for a Cracker Barrel near Raleigh and our rendezvous with K.G.’s mom. That leg of the trip was accompanied by a 4-year-old’s reminders of, “I can’t wait to see my mommy and show her my new Grinch toy!”

After dinner and the transfer of her goods from our SUV to Shannon’s, we hugged them and began our “goodbyes.” At this point, K.G. scrunched her face and tears began to roll down her cheeks. When the floodgates open and the tears flow for Katie Grace, it is with complete silence, and it breaks Nahnee’s and Papa’s hearts. We tried to explain, as we had with Annabelle, that we would see her again soon; but we shed a few, too, because “goodbye” is always a tough word to say.

At the open coffin of a loved one – spouse, parent, sibling, or soul-mate – “goodbye” is a despised word. Even when, through Christ’s redeeming love, there is the promise of a reunion some day, that time of separation is heartrending. The presence of God’s Spirit, now, and the hope of heaven, then, make “goodbye” bearable but never easy.

Last year one of Sammie’s sisters died. It had only been a few weeks since another sister had passed. Last week the mother of her great-nephews and great-niece suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 47. Last night I dreamed about my mother who has been gone for more than 24 years. “Goodbye” is a tough word to say.

In a few weeks we will see our granddaughters. Some day we will see loved ones who have “gone before us.” Surely we will greet each other with joy greater than the sorrow with which we said, “Goodbye for now.”

Our boxer puppy wagged all over and jumped and kissed us, when we picked her up at the vet. Somehow, I think our reunion with loved ones in heaven will be an even greater demonstration of love. May this blessed hope comfort you in your grief, when you are forced to say “goodbye.” And remember, it’s “goodbye for now.”

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