Many conundrums occur during our final hours of life. Our bodies fight to withdraw as our life force continues to hold on. Our loved ones tell us to go into the light as they cry and beg us not to leave.

The closer we come to death, the harder it becomes for our loved ones to say good-bye. These emotional tugs take place because of the disease process itself as well as psychological and spiritual issues.

Where did the custom of saying Good-Bye originate? According to the dictionary of world origins, Good-Bye, comes from the phrase, “God be with you,” which indicates religious ties within the English culture. In Spanish culture, Good-Bye is ‘Adios,’ and its origin means “I commend you to God,” which in French “Adieu” has the same meaning. In Japanese, Good-Bye is sayonara which simply means, “If it is to be that way.” The importance of acknowledging separation to those we love has been part of our culture for ages.

In this month’s postings I address the importance of saying good-bye. The article, “Exit Lines” features various clinicians and theologians and offer tips on how to make farewell conversations less stressful and more meaningful. The second post, “Jim,” tells the story of a beloved patient of mine who struggled to find a way to say good bye to his father who he hadn’t seen in 12 years.

So to all my readers “I’ll see you later.”