How to Say Good-Bye




She wore pink lipstick.

It was towards the end of January 1989, and I remember her wearing a long green coat buttoned up all the way to the colourful scarf that was wrapped around her neck. On her head a grey felted hat that she had worn on previous occasions, and on her feet, she wore galoshes, the kind that were similar to the ones that Mary Poppins would wear. All this for a trip to the hospital, but my Bubi always made an attempt to look nice when she went out. I don’t remember a lot of snow on the ground. For some reason I was home as my Dad was taking my Bubi to the hospital to have gangrene removed off her foot. I knew at the time it was because she had diabetes, but it didn’t occur to me that they would be amputating her whole toe. I know better  through past clients I’ve had.

My Mom told me to go say good-bye to Bubi, but at first, I refused because I figured I would see her soon enough, and sometimes I thought my mom treated Bubi better than she should. Whenever she made a batch of muffins, or something that she thought Bubi would enjoy, she would pop over(since we lived right next door to her) and leave her a few. This made me mad because I believed at the time, if she shared, there would be none left for us. Of course, this never happened, and my Mom always assured me that if we did run out, she’d simply make more.

For some reason I couldn’t be bothered to say good-bye to Bubi because I figured she would be back soon enough. I ended up saying good-bye so that I could placate my Mom – it formed a mental picture of how Bubi looked as she departed for the hospital with my Dad.

And depart she did.

It was the last time I saw I ever saw her. She died of Congestive Heart Failure, a condition she had a time before, but this time she didn’t recover from it. It had never occurred to me that Bubi would die, I just figured she would live for as long as I needed her. I was only 13 years old, and my sense of time as all children that age is warped. I thought she would be around forever. I always like to think that I had indeed said good-bye, even though it wasn’t in quite the way I would’ve like it.

My world always included Bubi, so the shock of it was like having icy cold water thrown on me on a hot, humid day. I didn’t know, so I was probably going through a grieving process of some kind. I didn’t even know even know the word, Providence, existed and that her passing was a result, but God had everything in control. Nothing was out-of-place, but to me everything was out-of-place, and the following year, it continued to be pulled to shreds because my parents split.

A few weeks ago, I was having a discussion with my Mom. In the beginning it had nothing to do with saying good-bye, but in the end, it was all about how I say good-bye. As I struggled to explain to her what was going on inside, I could see that image of Bubi as she waited to be taken to the hospital for the last time. This ‘heaviness’ hung inside of me, and though I could not fully say what it was, I tried my best, and yes I do make and have made a point of saying good-bye to her each time.



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