A soldier leaving on an extended tour, classmates parting at graduation or a parent leaving a child to go to work -- saying goodbye is never easy, especially when the sadness of separation seems to be all you can focus on. Whether the length of the separation is months, years, or just a day, inspirational farewells can shift the emphasis from loss and melancholy to hope and remembrance.
End of an Era
Many of life’s major moments -- such as graduations, weddings and even the ending of long-term relationships -- involve the bittersweet element of a parting. In these moments, you say good-bye not only to treasured friends and family but also to an important phase of life. Inspirational messages should highlight cherished memories as well as hope and best wishes for the future. For example, for recent graduates preparing to move away to college, spend some time at farewell get-togethers reminiscing about the good times and discussing plans for the future. Bringing up shared memories demonstrates that you value old friendships and sparks hope for more good times to come. Sharing future plans provides the opportunity to reassure fears of the unknown future and inspire one another toward success.
Until We Meet Again
Some separations are only temporary, such as military families facing the deployment of a family member, couples separated by thousands of miles for months due to work or school, or regular families with relatives living in different parts of the country. Infuse these farewells with inspiration by focusing on ways to stay connected throughout the separation, as well as on the hope and joy of the anticipated reunion. Reassure anxious children by practicing communications prior to the departure, such as video chatting and letter writing. Similar techniques may be employed for older children when moving requires leaving behind friends and familiar surroundings. Encourage children and loved ones of all ages to craft farewell messages that acknowledge the qualities of the departing person that they’ll love and miss the most, as well as positive thoughts of the anticipated reunion.
Just One Day
For little ones, an eight-hour workday can feel like forever, which may result in heart-wrenching morning meltdowns when parents leave for work. Instinct might have you rushing to comfort your crying child with hugs and kisses; however, a few inspirational messages are a better option to put your child at ease. Play down the separation and inspire excitement in your child by focusing on the activities he or she will engage in during the day, such as a visit to a park or zoo, or craft-making with a caregiver.
End of Life
The funeral of a loved one is emotionally devastating in its solemn finality. In these moments, it’s those left behind who need inspiration when saying good-bye. As with the less traumatic life transitions, such as graduation and weddings, the end of a life is a time to ponder treasured memories and acknowledge qualities and characteristics of the departed that you’ll miss. This is also the time to contemplate important life lessons you’ve learned from the deceased and rededicate yourself to living by those lessons. By fondly remembering the departed and recognizing the good they brought into the world in a memorial card or eulogy, this also serves as an inspirational farewell that will benefit bereaved friends and family members.
- Psych Central: Dealing with Transitions
- Oprah.com: Making Your Goodbyes Good: 5 Ways to Come to Terms with Change
- Military Youth on the Move: Helping Kids Say Goodbye
- National Military Family Association: Children and Deployment
- University of Illinois: Learning to Say Goodbye
- Harvard Health Publications: The Five Stages of Grief
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