Moment #4: How to Use the Seven Moments to Improve Your Quality of Life
4th Shocking Moment: Saying Goodbye “Goodbyes are a good thing.”
My parents stood helplessly while machines breathed oxygen into my brother’s lungs. Pete was his name. He was a young lad of seven.
Since the incident, his skin had become deathly pale, and the color had faded from his cheeks. A physician told us a few months ago, “There’s no brain activity.” The machines are the only thing keeping him alive.
My family came to say our final goodbyes on a cold and cloudy Sunday afternoon. His hospital bed was covered with flowers, balloons, and cards. Seven of us squeezed into the tight quarters. As our preacher spoke softly about my brother’s life, we held hands together.
Later that evening, when the sun had set, and the window looked out onto the night sky, the hospital staff had all but vanished, the lights were dim, and the tiled hospital hallways were deathly quiet, and my mother nodded her consent to the doctor. He turned off the machines one by one. As my younger brother Pete passed away peacefully, my mother sobbed openly.
A farewell can be felt in an infinite number of ways. It’s possible to say “Goodbye!” and either walk away or hang up the phone. We may say our goodbyes with a handshake or an embrace. A goodbye can be a simple nod or a short wave. There’s also the option of not saying anything and just leaving.
Saying farewell to pals after a night out or waving to your kids as they leave for school can feel inconsequential. Pay close attention to every aspect of life, no matter how minute or impersonal it may seem.
Whether or not a farewell is difficult depends on the nature of the relationship between the people involved (saying goodbye to a grocery store clerk is far easier on the psyche than saying goodbye to a husband who is dying of cancer).
The majority of us take farewells too lightly. I remember when I did. That’s to be anticipated, given how frequently we encounter them. We always hope to see the people we bid goodbye to again. The truth is that you never know if the next goodbye you say will be your last. A slim chance always exists that you won’t cross paths with that person again.
I don’t mean to discourage you or be critical. Not. I’m not advocating that you sob uncontrollably whenever you have to part with a loved one. I’m only making the point that farewells are powerful moments in the human experience that we should all learn to value. Allow yourself to feel the awkwardness of saying goodbye to a loved one, especially if you know it will be long before you see them again. Don’t avoid it or try to ignore it (because doing so would be detrimental to gaining as much out of life as possible). If you never say goodbye, you’re missing out on one of life’s most meaningful experiences.
A farewell will always be at the end of this book’s two most pivotal chapters. You can’t meet someone without saying goodbye, so Introduction and Reunion are critical.
When a parting greeting is also an introduction, you know you need to pay attention to this meeting. You want to make an excellent first impression, and you also want to improve the way you say goodbye. If you can pull off both, you will have taken advantage of a decisive period in human history. You’ll make a lasting impact on everyone you meet.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated saying goodbye. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it. I was the one who always used the back door to leave a party, reunion, or other gathering. Few people saw me go, so I had a bad rap for being a sneak.
I’ve finally decided to say my goodbyes now that I’m older and wiser. I always thank my hosts properly by shaking their hands or hugging them. Although I know the significance of farewells to the human spirit, I feel uneasy whenever I am forced to endure one.
The final farewell is death. The finality of someone’s death can only be understood by having experienced it firsthand. When a loved one passes away, no one will ever get to relive those seven precious moments again. After a loved one dies, all we can do is remember the good times spent together. What do you remember most about a loved one who has passed away, if any have passed away in your life? You will probably remember the seven events in particular.
When I was in fifth grade, my dad left for work as a construction worker at an ungodly hour in the morning, often before it was even light outside. Before everyone else in the house was up, he’d brew a pot of coffee. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee is one of my most enduring memories. I used to stand outside in the middle of our rural road to wave farewell as Dad drove away in his work vehicle. The mornings I had to say goodbye to my dad were the first times I experienced the full force of a farewell.
No matter how complex or how easy a scenario of saying goodbye may seem at the time, it would help if you always learned to appreciate it for what it is. Pay attention only to the instant you are saying goodbye. Just be honest. Be mindful of the finer points.
Moment #5: How to Improve Your Quality of Life with the Seven Moments is the next installment in this series.
This is a series of articles based on my book, Life: The Seven Moments That Matter Most. Enjoy. – Blake Christian”
Christian Blake has authored two books about his discovery of the Seven Moments, which he made in 2001. One teaches the general public how to find joy even when life’s circumstances prevent them, and another instructs aspiring screenwriters in crafting a compelling narrative for the big screen. Check out Christian Blake’s Orange County Writer blog if you want to read more of his work outside this series.