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I Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

One of the things that happens by the time you get to be 40licious is that you get really good at stuff. Work, your racquetball technique, knowing when to walk away from a roulette table when you’ve still got a pile of chips.

But you also get to be good at things that aren’t so nice. Like withstanding the blow that someone you love has died.

I have lost entirely too many people in my life (well, maybe “lost” isn’t the right word. I just don’t know where they are, though I suspect they are somewhere close).

I know the drill. The call. The “I have some sad news” on the other end of the phone. The “Oh no!” that wells up from deep within my belly. The helplessness of it all. Retracing our last steps together and regretting that I never sent that recipe/picture/book I promised. Regretting that I didn’t have a few more moments to express my deep love and gratitude. Regretting that I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye, and that words spoken through tears out into the ether will have to do.

I wish that was something I didn’t know how to do.

My friends and collaborators, Don and Adam, have just put down their 16-year-old cat and learned, in the same week, that their lovely little terrier has a plum-sized tumor on her heart. They are are watching her go, slowly.

I’ve never let Lucy, my 12-year-old beagly mutt (who is in excellent health and very puppylike, still) sleep on the bed. When my ex-boyfriend moved out, she had a temporary pass to come up there so that I could have a warm and friendly body next to me.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get her to go back to her own perfectly good bed on the floor next to mine. And then I think about Don and Adam’s lovely little Louise, and that time for all of us is limited and with an undefined shelf life.

And I invite Lucy up to sleep with me. For just one more night.

Vanessa McGradyI Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

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