What You Realize After Saying Goodbye to a Coworker
We all say goodbye all the time. Kids say goodbye to their parents before going to school, husbands and wives bid each other farewell before parting ways for work, friends say goodbye to friends who travel someplace new—these goodbyes are a regular part of daily life.
But there is a different kind of goodbye, one that speaks of finality and death. I experienced some of these final goodbyes in my life. I share one of them through my poem, “Goodbye, My Friend.” In this piece, I speak of the loss of a friend and a great woman in one.
The time has come to depart from another true friend,
Her grace and charm—she continued to show even to the end.
It’s not many that you can compare to her grace,
You see it was Natural, just like her pretty face.
She always had a smile, that was her trait,
She wasn’t one to brag; she told it to you straight.
The job that she did, it was all so well,
No complaints in her file, a sure way to tell.
We are not just losing another from our group,
The job that she did was in support of the troops.
Now we must bid goodbye for now,
Not knowing what to do, I do what I know how.
(Carl Busby Sr., Poems from the Sand II)
It is not every day that we lose someone close. But when something like saying goodbye to a co-worker happens, it becomes an opportunity for reflection.
I don’t know when I will die.
Our time in this world is an often neglected aspect of our lives. We go through a day thinking that we will wake up tomorrow and do our usual stuff when we don’t know when our last day is.
This realization makes me celebrate life more. I appreciate the important people in my life, knowing that saying goodbye before you die is not a chance many of us will have.
Have I done all the things I want to do?
This thought inspires me to do the things I love now. Losing a friend is always painful, and part of the pain is wondering if that person did what he/she wanted to do in life. Thinking that the answer to that question is no makes me want to start a to-do list for everything I want to do.
Have I done something that will leave a mark?
Saying goodbye to a friend who has died can also put things in perspective. Reminiscing is a part of grieving. We look back at the person’s achievements and successes in life. In a way, this also makes us question our own experiences. When we die, will people recognize us as someone who did enough in our lifetime?
There are more things to reflect on from what I have mentioned. In all these reflections, the unchanging fact is that saying goodbye is always hard. There will be pain and struggle.
However, despite the difficulties, saying goodbye to a friend is not the end of the world. We can give ourselves time to grieve the loss but also celebrate the life of the friend we lost.
My book, Poems from the Sand II, is rich with my experiences. I talk about grief and loss in some of my poems there. You can also get updates on my work through my Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads pages.
McFerran, John. 2010. “Dealing with Sudden Death of Co-Worker.” Winnipeg Free Press, October 30. Accessed October 4, 2017. https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/dealing-with-sudden-death-of-co-worker- 106365633.html.
McKay, Dawn Rosenberg. 2016. “How to Cope with the Death of a Colleague.” The Balance, March 5. Accessed October 4, 2017. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-cope-with-the-death-of-a-colleague-526104.