Whether or not you believe that there is life after death, whether you believe that the spirit lives on in heaven, in the afterlife, whether or not you have a faith, it can always be comforting to hope that one day we might meet our loved ones again after they are gone. The word ‘goodbye’ has a detrimentally permanent quality about it; I often find myself dreading the words. The word seems too final – I don’t want to say goodbye, I want to look forward to the next time. I often find myself saying ‘goodnight’ or ‘see you later’ but there is something so terminal in saying ‘goodbye’ that I’m just not fond of. I recall at the beginning of my last relationship I told my then-boyfriend that we should never say the word goodbye because we always have tomorrow and the day after to see one another or speak again, so our conversation would never truly end; there would never have to be those finalising words until, of course, the day we did part for good. Even to the ones I’ve loved and lost, I will say ‘goodbye for now’, in the hope that one day we will all meet again in a place free of the world’s hardships, where there is only love.
The following poem was written nearly three years ago, when I was sixteen years old, in memory of my Grandfather after his passing.
Saying the word ‘goodbye’ is the hardest thing we have to do
As we shut the door on one thing and embrace something new
Sometimes the easier route to take is to only say a word or two
Because words cannot express what I would like to say to you
But I’ll try my utmost to convey a little of the words I’d say.
Thank you for teaching us determination, that God is always there,
I adored your unassuming nature and your kind one-eyed stare,
Before I even knew what maths was you’d give me sums and I must say
Thank you for your patience for I still am doing maths today,
The man who taught us from young never to waste a morsel of our food,
Who told me that God was always near in a way I understood,
As you’d calmly smoke your pipe we’d listen to your humble words,
Enjoy sitting with you after lunch as we fed bread to the birds,
I remember among the final words you last said to me,
The usual question about what job it was that I wished to do
As you did recall when I was small a writer I said to you,
And if I do write a book one day I know whom it shall be dedicated to,
To my grandfather a man who only wished me good
And who taught me always to live my days and spend them as I should,
This reminder of a young ambition had me gratefully holding your hand,
It was nice to see that you believed in me, you truly gracious man,
Silent tears filled my eyes for that time long gone it seems,
In the midst of stormy days I had long forgotten that dream,
But thank you for the reminder for it now shined bright and true,
Subconsciously you turned my spark back on, I now write something for you,
So many thanks to Grandpa Andrew,
One of the kindest men I knew,
Though you’re not here in physical being you now live up and free,
You’re still present in your spirit guarding me and our family,
In the toughest of times you knew it would be worth it after all,
To reach a higher place in heaven where only love can breach its walls,
And in a place above us you stand now watching over those you love,
And we can only have faith that one day we can meet you up above,
Pray for us dear grandpa to one day reach God’s heavens there with you,
But for now you’re still with us in our hearts as we face a chapter new.
By Shannon Feetham, October 2013
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