This Keynote is very touchy for me. I don’t like saying goodbye! It is However, a word that we all will say, or at least feel. I would like to share a personal experience, again, to get this keynote across.
I won’t bore you with the whole story so let’s jump past the part where I couldn’t find who I was, left Jacksonville, N.C for a girl in Milwaukee, WI; when that didn’t work out I moved to Florida, after my Grannies invitation. Stayed with her and my grandfather for a while until they found a place for me to rent right around the corner from their house. Caught up? Good!
My Granny owned a golf cart that looked like a mini monster truck, big wheels and all! Every single morning that she knew I was off from work, as if I didn’t have a life on my off days, she would swing by on that golf cart knock on my door just to say hello. I guess I didn’t have too much of a life on days off because I was always there to answer the door. Later, seeing that I was sometimes annoyed by her surprise pop ups she would call me first and say would you like to meet me at the pool today around noon? At the time of this phone call it’s 7am. I say sure, while planning to sleep a bit longer because I was out late the night before. Twenties minutes after hanging up the phone I hear knocking on my bedroom window. When I pull back the curtains I find a bright blue eyes and a big smile followed by “Hello I’ve been knocking on your door for a while now”. REALLY? What happened to NOON? Swimsuit on at the pool, fast asleep in the lawn chair, while granny sits and stares at me, smiling. A few more visits, sometimes bringing me leftovers from last night’s dinner, dessert, a gift, whatever, but always, “just stopping by to say hello”. Granny Took every moment available to her, to say hello to me!
Another long part of the story, let’s speed through it!
I left to find myself again, ended up getting lost in Frankfort, Kentucky where I attended Kentucky State University. Two years past and Granny is in the hospital with congested heart failure. She had many heart attacks in her life and this congested heart failure was a normal routine for her heart. A few scares and a pace maker later she is home resting and I am making a decision to not return to college, not even to gather all my clothes and shoes I left in the dorm, in order to stay close to her and take care of the woman who would give up everything to take care of her loved ones.
Fast forward to 2008. Granny is sick! Very Ill. She has made the decision to be taken off of her medicine and to slowly leave this world. She has decided to do it in the big open house my mother and I shared at this time, in a comfortable hospital bed she purchased online. Family all around from out of state. I am embarrassed to share this part as tears fall down my face. I didn’t stay home often during this final week. I didn’t want to see my granny like this. I didn’t take time to say HELLO to her everyday as she did me for many years. One night I went over to the house and sat next to her home hospital bed and held her hand. She hadn’t been too responsive to anyone so I didn’t say much to her in knowing she would speak back. I then finally said “Granny, I spoke to God” (which I did). She slowly turned her head to me and weakly replied “and what did he have to say”? I told her that he said she didn’t have to hold on for my mother and I anymore (granny took good care of my mother and I for all we had been through and never could get our shit together on our own), “You can let go, we will be ok Granny” I said. She didn’t say anything else except for letting out our comforting love noise we made (and you probably will make the wrong sound by just reading it) Emhmm, Emhmm. I snuggled my nose into her neck and made the noise with her. Emhmm Emhmm. I left. And for the next two days I never went back to say HELLO, and in two days she passed away. I should have said hello every day I could and now the pain of being forced to say Goodbye haunts me even to this day.
My friends Say hello! Say hello every chance you get. To loved ones, to friends, to strangers even. BE PRESENT in everyone lives as much as you can. You never know when you will have to say Goodbye!
Believe, BE Free, BE YOUtiful…BE!