Have you seen all the posts in the ALS series?

ALS – The Goodbyes

This is the last posting in this series of visuals, telling the story of the last 6 months that Veronique was with us.

Goodbye is a word we use a lot, and sometimes prefer to avoid. Hello. Goodbye. Two sides of the same coin. The one exists only by the grace of the other. Life itself is comprised of constant hello’s and goodbye’s. We appear, and we disappear, and in between the appearing and disappearing is what we call life. However good we are at convincing ourselves that we will live forever, every time we say ‘goodbye’, there is again the slightest recognition of the transient nature of life.

In a very real sense, every moment since Veronique’s ALS diagnosis has been part of a long goodbye. Each moment spent with her was bitter sweet. On the one hand, as she lost each of her physical abilities…most of which we take for granted, you could not help but feel relieved, hopefully blessed, to still have all these abilities yourself. On the other hand, Veronique’s condition was a reminder for all of us that nothing can in fact be taken for granted, and that we are all living on borrowed time. The moment of our own ‘goodbye’ is also unavoidable.

In May of 2021, I had to leave the US due to my expiring visa. I was packed and ready to walk out the door. It was a scene now familiar to us all, and still uncomfortable. With eyes full of tears, trembling lips and her soft voice, Veronique said to me “Please come back soon”. The underlying tone seemed to be “Don’t leave me”. There was an urgency in the way she said the words. Maybe somewhere deep down, a part of her knew what was coming.

I did return a few months later, but by then, Veronique had passed from this life.

No, goodbyes are never easy because, in each and every goodbye lies the possibility that it will be the last goodbye. And still something tells me that after every goodbye…even the ‘last one’, there must be another hello…

Have you seen all the posts in the ALS series?