Sharing a Special Goodbye

Every now and then a very dear person will start a new life, and you want to share a special goodbye, to show how much they mean to you and how much you will miss them.

The main thing for that beautiful goodbye is to draw a balance between controlling your emotions, yet wishing them a heartfelt farewell blessings on their journey.  Try to keep your last moments together focussed on them, and be encouraging about their new adventure. 

If your feelings are really intense, just remember a sad party is no party at all!

Be fully present.
Try to be fully present in the moments you have with that person.

If you are able to express yourself in words - a poem or speech - then well and good. If you are shy of telling them in person, your feelings can be expressed in a letter and given to the person to read later.

If you can't express your feelings like this, a small gift with an engraved phrase, or even something small and symbolic will do - it will still mean a lot to them.
For example, before travelling for a year, one writer had a boyfriend give her a perfect, beautiful shell he found on the ocean floor while he had been diving - it was simple and romantic.
It was only a shell but it came with a lovely story, and she thought about him diving for her whenever she looked at it. She carried it everywhere until he came back.

If you are deeply connected, simple things have great significance.

In the book "Last Seen in Lhasa" by Claire Scobie, soul-friends Claire and Ani promise "that every full moon we would think of each other and send love. It seemed a pragmatic - if somewhat sentimental - way to stay connected as it could be years before we met again."

Some people send love in the form of positive energy.

For those of you who find it hard to express how you feel in words, remember that actions speak louder than words.

Go to a quiet old haunt that you shared, like a riverside, park, or the roof of your apartment building. Anywhere to contemplate the environment around you, whether natural or urban.
Set up chairs, crack open a drink, watch the sun set or rise - be fully present, and soak up the life between the words. Talk about the future and what it will hold for both of you now. Take pleasure in the view, the refreshments and the company.

Or if you need something to focus on...

Activity-based farewell?

Your special goodbye have any activity that slows time or has reverence, like a tea ceremony, or fishing. Or activities where they can leave their mark, like painting a mural or carving into a tree (especially if there are children leaving too).

If you find it hard to tell them how much you'll miss them, then an activity like this is ideal for you.

Or the activity can be nostalgic, like a twilight (the magic hour) local tour of your/their personal sacred sites describing shared memories...for example, "this is where we had that party where you kissed that guy - whatever happened to him? - and this is the dental clinic where you made me drive you to that appointment where there was a fire alarm and we had to be evacuated in the middle of your root canal" etc.

Same, same but different ideas

(in the context of the childhood home)


This special goodbye can occur in the few hours before the farewell party (as long as neither of you have to do any preparation or stress out), or as a surprise in the middle of their workday a week before they leave (you can try to organise this with their work), or during a quiet walk home after a night out.

You don't need to do too much; sometimes the simplest things are the best, as people close to your heart won't need a lot to understand how you feel.

If this is still too emotionally intense, a non-farewell-specific activity, like ten-pin bowling, going to an art gallery or having a round of golf is a good distraction while still spending time with that person.

Special goodbye ideas
Some suggestions that show them how special they are:

  • make a slide show or photo album (or personal gift)
  • throw a surprise party at the beach/river/rooftop at sunset
  • start a tribute page
  • at the party, ask everyone to join in a group intention where everyone sees a bright fulfilling futurefor that person and intending joy and courage for them
  • arrange a "treasure hunt" sending the honoured person on a trail where they spend a short time with someone special at different checkpoints - for example, drinking a glass of wine with a fellow wine-lover and reminiscing, hanging out with a family member who has brought different childhood toys to a playground for their meeting.  Everyone can come back to a central point for an optional "living wake".

Give the comforting gift of an award-winning book.

Special Goodbye Top of page