To Big Pink. My house, built by many hands over thirty years, including my own. A home. A safe haven. A respite.
A place of business as well: trading wood products, writing, working out.
As you know, it’s been coming for a long time, this parting that’s such sweet sorrow. I’ve been bracing myself. The hardest part? No, it wasn’t seeing the huge moving trucks pull in, taking down tree limbs as they barreled down the driveway. Surprisingly, it wasn’t even seeing the place empty. She looks okay empty. You could see that she would probably adapt to different stuff being stuffed into her. The sound gets you. The echo. The hardest part? Leaving the garage door remotes and keys on the counter. Locking myself out. Completely. Finally.
C ya. Later alligator. Ciao. Bye nzuri. Kwaheri. Nice knowing ya. Here’s to you kid. Have a sweet life. Peace out. Gotta bounce. Adieu. Au revoir. Adios. Arrivederci. Ciao. Auf wiedersehen. Guten tag. Nice knowing ya. Farewell. Fare thee well. I’m outta here. Love ya. Paalam. Kita-kits. Bless.
Sometimes we get the opportunity to say goodbye. Sometimes not. Is a final parting easier for the knowing? Or not so much?
Hugh, my first husband, the visionary of Big Pink, left almost a dozen years ago without truly saying goodbye. Well, he said goodbye to get on a plane to fly to Edmonton, but people fly on planes all the time. Statistically, it’s a pretty safe mode of travel. I expected him to come back, alive. So it was a simple goodbye. A peck and a promise. C ya. Later. On the flip side. Luv ya, like ya, and all that jazz.
When I first saw Hugh in his coffin, it was way worse than experiencing Big Pink empty. I mean, she’s still standing, saying, “Next.” Hugh was down for the count, a previously healthy and boisterous force rendered suddenly dead and silent by a blip of the heart. Sure, the fine blue silk shirt looked nice, but without the matching eyes to light it up? Pointless. The hair? Just plain weird styled by other hands. The important part of Hugh, the essence, the soul, was missing. He was no longer there to say goodbye to. He’d peaced out.
When we were first married, travelling in California, Hugh heard an old hippie say this: “Home is where the heart is.” Surely he’d heard that before. I had. But Hugh got so excited about it that night. He could be like a kid at times. He and the old hippie went on and on discussing this notion at length and it made me really contemplate it. Home is where the heart is, not where the house is. Home is not a physical, tangible thing. It’s an illusive, intangible created by what you do, say, feel, and make manifest around you at all times. From your heart.
What would Hugh’s heart have said to me, given the chance, leaving Earth home, for whatever lies yonder? “Oh, Rita. Don’t cry. I didn’t see that coming, but it is what it is. Didn’t we make great memories together? And three amazing children? I will remember you always as you will remember me. Drive like crazy, take all kinds of risks. Think happy thoughts. Believe that what you’re doing in this moment is the right thing, even if it turns out it’s not. Money? Good to have, but not so important. You’re worth what you can borrow, remember? (He winks and laughs.) People. (He nods, emphatically.) Now, people matter. Look them in the eye. Know their names. Appreciate their work, whatever it is. Find out what makes them tick, what turns their crank, so you can give them what they want, and also get what you want. A win-win.
Now get out there. Make a zillion more memories. Like ya, luv ya. Luv ya, like ya. Like ya so much, luv ya way more.”
Hmm. Can you tell he was in sales? And what would Big Pink say? As our intangible hearts part? My sister-in-law put it this way on Facebook: “The Big Pink house says don’t cry. We made some great memories together. I will remember you always as you will remember me. I have work to do making new memories for my new family now. Will always luv ya.”
“Will always luv ya.” Home is where the heart is, where the love is. No matter where you live: Express Love + Follow Heart = Happy Home.
And have you noticed this phenomenon? You say goodbye to something? You end up saying hello to something else? Like the Beatles sing, in that song? “I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello. Hello, hello.”
Good day mate. Bonjour. Hi. Hey. How are you? Greetings my friend. Nice to see you. Magandang umaga. Hola. Hallo…