Wrinkles: Saying goodbye in different ways

By MARY CASHON JONES

Saying goodbye! How many times in life do we voice those words?

Sometimes it is when a friendship must end, or when a loving pet gets too old. Sometimes our goodbyes are quick, overnight, over a day, or over some thoughtless gesture.

Goodbyes always hurt, leaving an empty space in our heart and lives.

When my beloved 16-year-old cocker spaniel had to be put to sleep, I held him, looking into those large, trusting brown eyes, knowing I was signing his life away, and saying goodbye forever. And then, there are the long days and nights of watching and whispering low, "Goodbye."

We watch the deterioration of a loved one as Alzheimer's sucks out the very life of their body and brain and there is nothing we can do to help. We listen as the telephone rings during the night and hear a loving voice asking to please come get me and take me home. We sit and hold their hand every afternoon and some days, the conversation will flow from their lips about the good times we once had playing golf or traveling. That makes for a real happy day! Then, there are days of irritability and questions that can't be answered. The days go into months, then years and we can find no medical help. It is hard for them to understand the strange place where they live with strangers all around.

Saying goodbye is hard, but saying goodbye for so many days, weeks and years is heartbreaking.

There are many diseases we need to address, and Alzheimer's should be at the top of the list! When God reaches down and leaves us to say that final goodbye, loneliness permeates our body, but we know that finally they are at peace, safely in His arms.

The Journey Home by Kate Watkins Furman

Don't worry about anything - for don't you know it's true,

A loving God has launched the ship - that gently carries you!

Each boat that sales the sea of life - that rocks with every storm,

Is guided through the straits of faith - To a harbor safe and warm.

The hand that knit you in the womb - will never cease to care -

A ballast in the wildest wind, a love that's always there.

And each man hears a special call - that beckons him alone,

While God provides along the way - The stars that guide him home.