The Cherokee Indians have no word for goodbye.

Goodbye is never said…

If someone dies or leaves

Donadagohvi (doe-na-dah-go-huh-ee) is voiced instead.


Hoping they will see that person

they know not where or when…

Donadagohvi simply means

until we see each other again.


I love that concept…no farewell statement

as one soars off to the sky.

No adios…no swan song.

No need to say goodbye.


There is some comfort in believing

they will again be seen…

no matter how long the interlude…

how much time or distance in between.


Of course if you followed the teachings of the Cherokee:

If you believe in patience, in lending a helping hand,

if you believe the land does not belong to you

but you belong to the land…


If you believe in balance, in working together 

for the benefit of Earth and Sky,

if you believe in always doing what is right…

then when it comes your time to die…


You will see your loved ones gathered round you.

You will smile at them…and then…

as you look each person in the eye

you'll say donadagohvi…

until we see each other again…

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The other day I was taken aback by something a young girl in the bookstore said…

It made me lose my perspective as my expectations ran away with my head.


This can happen when I least expect it and I usually get burned

which immediately brings me back to reality…and allows my humility to return.


She stared at me…I smiled…she said, “Excuse me but you look like….

and here is where my curiosity took over…as my expectations spiked…


I bet she’s going to say Sean Connery…and how would I respond

if she thinks I bear a resemblance to the best of all the Bonds?


If not the inimitable James Bond…perhaps she thinks I am a clone

of the older, strong and adventurous...father of Indiana Jones!


By this time in my own head my sensibilities were blurred…

I mean…I don’t even like martinis…not shaken…not even stirred.


Still to be mistaken for James Bond…now that would be a feat

that would make my day at work…totally complete.


Back to the girl standing in front of me…once my face she finished appraising…

“You look just like…my Grandpa.” She said, “the resemblance is amazing.”


I smiled as my ego plopped back to Earth…but I realized instantly…

that looking like her Grandpa was good enough for me.


Because she made the remark so innocently…with such elegance and grace… 

and the mere mention of her Grandpa brought a smile to her face.


Expectations are a funny thing, however

for as she left the store this thought upon me dawned…

I wonder if her Grandpa was ever mistaken for James Bond?

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Cancer is an ugly disease…not only for the life it takes

But for all the sorrow and sadness…left floating in its wake….


Although I did not know her personally I’ve kept abreast of cases she has tried

which is why I was saddened yesterday when I heard that she had died.


But what finally caused my tears to flow…what opened my floodgate

was, amidst the many tributes to her, were the messages of hate.


The more I read the sadder I felt until soon I was feeling numb

as my heart filled up with sorrow at the country we’ve become.


Cancer comes in many forms causing families sadness, sorrow and strife

progressing slowly through the body until it finally takes a life.


Hate is a form of cancer…I wish people would understand

How it’s metastasizing quickly…as it spreads across the land.


Two forms of cancer make me sad today…

The first that took this woman I am thinking of…

and the second that is slowly killing

this country that I love.

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Her first memory of her father…though she doesn’t know the year

was when he tucked her into bed one night and whispered ‘I love you’ in her ear.


From then it didn’t matter if he read her a Fairy Tale or helped her wipe away a tear

he’d always say good night by whispering ‘I love you’ in her ear.


And that memory has stayed with her to this day

It’s one she never will forget

for if there’s a better way to fall asleep at night…she hasn’t found it yet.


His fondest memory of his daughter is the day she tapped him on his back

and when he turned around she smiled and said, “Daddy, I love you back.”


And as she grew a little older…a memory he holds dear

is how she’d run up to him spontaneously just to whisper ‘I love you’ in his ear.


Even now when she has a family of her own at night the same memory appears

just before she closes her eyes she hears him whisper ’I love you’ in her ears


And when he closes his eyes he remembers the night she touched him on his back

the night he turned

the night she smiled

the night she whispered, ‘Daddy, I love you back.’


It’s a memory that has stayed with each of them …a memory neither will ever forget

for if there’s a better way to fall asleep at night…they haven’t found it yet.


And when it was time to say their final goodbye

As she held his hand she said, “Daddy I am here.”

then she tucked his blanket in to keep him warm

and whispered ‘I love you’ in his ear.


For she knew as a lifetime of memories

brought a smile to her face and tears into her eyes

the best way to say goodnight…

is also the best way to say goodbye



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The lone rose never asked for much

and never once complained…

She was happy when the sunlight reached her

and when her petals filled with rain.


She grew outside the young girls window

and always found a way

to stand a little straighter

when the young girl smiled her way.


Not once did the young girl forget her… 

for every day she chose

to open her window, smile, wave

and say, “Good Morning!” to her rose.


And they were happy with their relationship…

It made the girl and her rose glow…

until the change of seasons

and the fall winds began to blow..


Soon it would be winter

When her single rose would die

and so the young girl and the rose

prepared to say goodbye.


“What can I do for you?” The young girl asked

“since you’ve given so much to me?

The rose had but one request 

“Can you take me to the sea?”


“I’ve seen the sun, the moon the stars

I’ve seen the birds the trees and more…

but I would love once before I’m gone

if I could see the shore.”


And so they traveled to the shore

to where the ocean meets the sky…

and here they sat and watched the waves


and it was here they said goodbye.

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He loved her with all his heart

which made him wonder how would he ever know

when it's time to say goodbye

when it's time to let her go?


He was thinking about their life together

when his heart let out a sigh

as he knelt down and held her hand he wondered...

Was it was time to say goodbye?


He sat there with her hand in his

in silence for a while

until he noticed from her eyes…a tear

and on her lips…a smile.


He leaned over whispered, “I love you.”

then gently kissed her on her head.

"I will always love you.” 

are the last words she ever said.


Suddenly the answer came to him

as his tears began to flow…

He found the strength to say goodbye


knowing he will never let her go.

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Something Precious Had to Fade

Dear one, what did you say?

A dining hall, a distant day,

It seems it was time

For goodbye,

Speaking of my eyes,

‘They shine so bright’,

Words said (or words of this kind),


If this was true and indeed they did,

Because of feelings that I hid,

I must have longed

For you to stay,

But I didn’t beg you, ‘please don’t leave!’,

I must have seemed so cavalier,

And something precious had to fade.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

'Something Precious Had to Fade' was written as a song of love lost several decades ago. Image from ca. 1983.

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When it’s time for them to go…although we’d love for them to stay

We try to show we’re happy…when good friends move away.


We remember the first time we said hello…and our body lets out a sigh.

There’s still so much we want to do…we’re not ready to say goodbye


For we know what made this friendship special…and makes us want to cry

is everything that came between our first hello and this goodbye


We’ve shared so many happy memories…which is why we’re unprepared

to deal with the emptiness…of the memories unshared.


How do we express to someone…the endless reasons why

we will begin to miss them…the moment we say goodbye.


How do we tell them how lucky we are that in our life they came…

and how our family portraits…will never be the same…


Then we remember the Cree Indians…and we’re happy thinking why

in their entire language…they have no word to say goodbye.


They prefer to end with hope…no goodbye…no farewell…no amen…

Instead, when someone leaves their community they say…until we meet again.


Perhaps they know the secret…embodied by the turtledove…

that you can never say goodbye…to someone you’ve grown to love.


And with this thought in mind…we hold our head up high…

we blink away our tears…but we do not say goodbye…


We look our good friend in the eye…we give them a hug…and then…


we say Hello…getting a head start…for when we meet again… 

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She was just a woman in our neighborhood…she did what a neighbor does

She was not related to us…yet we would have sworn she was…


And although we’re sure it wasn’t part of her plan…her goal…her objective…her aim

She played a part in shaping the people we became.


We all grew up and moved away…the old neighborhood didn’t last…

Still, we had a chance once we were grown to revitalize our past…


We met again…all of us older…her life now months from the end…

where our old feelings transformed us from old neighbors to old friends.


That often happens as we grow older…as our hair turns a shade of grey

the age difference no longer matters…the years between us fade away.


But now it was time to say goodbye…she was taking her last bow

and the three of us got together and began to wonder how…


How do we show her what she meant to us…How do we let her know….

How lucky we were to have her in our lives…so many years ago.


She was sleeping.

Could she hear us?

Should we even try?

How do we tell her how we feel?

How do we say goodbye?


The nurse said, “Just talk to her…have a little chat.

If she can’t hear you…no harm done…but if she can…Imagine that!”


So we sat down at her bedside…we gave her hand a squeeze

and we shared old times, old stories, old laughter…old memories…


As we were lost in our reveries of a different time…a different place…

the nurse quietly pointed at our friend…who had a smile on her face…


And we thought what better ending could we give her

as her spirit soars up to the sky…

old friends together sharing memories...


That’s how you say goodbye!

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