“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

A.A. Milne

Dramatic farewells are an addiction of mine, akin to indulging in my wife’s spaghetti—which, by the way, can be quite an emotional experience. Sometimes it’s a mere farewell to a pair of shoes that have kicked one too many balls. Other times, it’s the heart-wrenching, but beautiful parting with my cousin Javier—who calls the vibrant landscapes of Chile his home.

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so poignant. This sentiment echoed in my heart as I recalled the last evening with Javier, dining on churrascos and reminiscing about our shared adventures. Those memories always have a touch of bitter-sweetness, knowing that soon, he’d be on one side of the world, and I’d be on the other.

You see, goodbyes carry with them the weight of our emotions, our memories, like a cherished heirloom handed down through generations. They remind us of moments, like the pair of shoes that danced under a thousand stars, or your grandma’s cookie jar that held the sweetest memories.

Speaking of memories, even saying goodbye to a TV show can be heavy. For me, there was “The Wonder Years,” a show that truly found me at the right time of life. It was more than just a series—it was a shared experience, a ritual for my family (and friends). As it ended, I felt a pang of sadness, similar to waving off a childhood friend who’d been by my side through thick and thin.

Yet, the heaviest of goodbyes was reserved for Tata, my grandfather from Chile. I remember the airport, the overwhelming scent of coffee, and the muted sounds of farewells all around. I was the one boarding the flight, leaving behind the homeland and the old man with a heart full of stories. He was in his 90s, a delightful mix of wisdom, wit, and his own brand of quirkiness. As I hugged him, I heard him chuckle and say his classic catchphrase, “Buf, buf… para los búfalos.” That phrase, odd as it was, became the symphony of our shared moments, and I realized it might be the last time I’d hear it from him.

Life, it seems, is a sequence of such moments. We welcome new experiences, just as we bid adieu to old ones. Goodbyes, though bittersweet, remind us of the beauty of having something or someone wonderful in our lives. They become the footprints of our journey.

So, while goodbyes are never truly the end, they are pauses, allowing us to reflect, remember, and relive. They are the reminders of times we laughed, cried, celebrated, and above all, loved.

And with that, my friends, here’s a gentle nod until our paths cross again. May each of your goodbyes bring forth a memory as flavorful as my wife’s spaghetti and as cherished as the moments with my Tata.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.