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...Without Saying Goodbye

September 2012

by Michael O’Brien

One of the pleasures in my life is having the one who holds my heart to say “hello” to as I wake and “goodbye” and “I love you, too” as I head off to work. It’s one of those simple gifts that I lived without for a quarter of a century, and now, each day, I am thankful to have someone in my life to say “hello” and “goodbye” to.

I'm not a business success and have a ten-year old car and a leaky house filled with books and paintings (2 for 1 sale all day every day), so by a lot of measures, I am not a financial success. Yet, the one who holds my heart and I wake each morning together, and it’s one of the best gifts I have in life.

This morning, a friend of ours doesn't have the gift I have. For reasons unknown, perhaps health, perhaps finance, perhaps just one more thing going wrong, and it looks like he made a choice to leave us all. He was a hardworking man who was liked by many, loved by many; but when that one last thing went wrong, he decided he was alone, that he couldn't cope with any more bad things happening, and in a trigger moment, left us all and didn't say goodbye.

Had he called any of us and said he was at the edge, looking into the darkness, we would've collected a group of friends and gone to his side. Maybe he knew that. Maybe he knew that those who loved him would keep him here among us, and maybe he thought that one last thing going wrong was insurmountable. It might have been, but there are 30 or more people that would have worked to find a way around it if we couldn't figure out a way through it.

If this was a plan, he hid it from those close to him; hid it behind a smile that was his trademark. A smile that maybe we should've looked through? I've been told that people who are serious about taking their lives work hard to hide their plan. And seeing through the camouflage to see the pain and to help with the problems is pretty hard; for me, it’s something I failed at with Rich and Freddie and Dusty and now with the fellow who seemed to be the happiest around.

Life is hard---I get that: pain, poverty, loss, all of it makes life heavier than a person can bear---but don't just leave. We need you here. We can't fix it all but will commiserate with you and share what we have with you because you'd do the same for us. Give someone the chance, give someone a call; only good will come of it.

Be good to each other. Look after each other.

Be sure to say hello and goodbye.