Gift of the Long Goodbye

03ED924D-0409-4032-8824-D39CB96E01B2A death can occur suddenly or be drawn out.  Since my own diagnosis, a number of people I know have died before I have. The unexpected deaths can shake others to the core. If the person has not prepared for the end of life details then it also bears hardship on the remaining loved ones.

What about the long goodbye? Is it a blessing or a curse?  In reading the book Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn, Jill says they have been given the gift of a long goodbye. She says that they are thankful for every moment with her and yet it’s painful watching her suffer. Loved ones  have not seen me suffer too much, until maybe recently. That hard work is coming.

We have had the blessing of beginning to say the words we need to say, of making memories, of taking photographs, and of learning lessons that change lives.

The long goodbye also allows for the not so pleasant parts of this hard adventure. There are moments when I cannot find the graciousness I need, when I cannot explain to formerly close friends why they are not always in the inner circle, or when I am trying hard to forgive.  For those on the path with me, they need to sort through the pain of losing me while I still linger, the confusion of not always having me available like I used to be, and dealing with the new Suzanne who is trying to etch out better boundaries.  They also need to deal with their own denial about the surreal nature of what is to come.

With all these things come a certain redemption, healing, and valuable life lessons yet to learn. I suppose there are easier ways to come to this place in life. I try still to see God in all things, Divine fingerprints scattered over the pages of my life, the lives of those around me. and the beauty of Creation. I must learn to see God in the suffering too during these days of the long goodbye. The gifts will be oddly wrapped for all of us but we must remain open to the beauty of these too. I keep my eyes on the prize of Home and know that I will rejoice in that hello.



Reflection Questions 

Sudden deaths and long goodbyes each are hard. What has been your experience?

What can suffering teach us?


The long goodbye is an odd gift, Creator.  Teach us all to use the time well until I rejoice in seeing you face-to-face  Amen.


About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
This entry was posted in #Consolation, #prayer, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Ignatian, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Gift of the Long Goodbye

  1. Brent says:

    Beautiful insight; peace 💜

  2. Karen Wheadon says:

    I know both ends of the spectrum are equally hard. I will share that the sudden loss of Randy has has a huge psychological impact on me. There was no chance to say goodbye, no closure on our life together…no sense of completeness…things left unsaid, etc. Also, the physiological toll on the body has been like nothing I’ve experienced before…it has been scary.

    I think if I had a choice, I would choose the long goodbye as you get more closure versus this deep emptiness.

    Sent from my iPad


    • sstyves says:

      Yes, those are some of the downsides of the sudden death. Having experienced both the long goodbye suffering is hard to watch while the sudden turns your world upside down. The grass often looks greener on the other side and I know you’ve had a rather long goodbye with your mom for example. I think the sudden death of a spouse in particular is incredibly painful and life-changing. We are never ready for that in a happy marriage. Peace to you, dear heart. 💜

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s