How Do You Say Goodbye?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

How do you say goodbye to someone snatched from your life in the blink of an eye? How do you begin to grieve before you even understand the reason why? How do you begin to accept the unacceptable and inexplainable?

HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE?

By Al Garcia

How do you say goodbye to someone snatched from your life in the blink of an eye?  How do you begin to grieve before you even understand the reason why?  How do you begin to accept the unacceptable and inexplainable?  How do you not blame yourself in some fashion or some way, with lots of “if onlys” and “what ifs.” 

The casualties of war, whether in jungles or in deserts, in hostile seas or unfriendly skies, or victims of brutal and fatal attacks – of ordinary people in ordinary places -- on city streets, in shopping malls or schools, churches, mosques or synagogues anywhere – all have one thing in common.  Someone will grieve for them.  Someone will cry and feel the pain of loss for them.  And someone will feel the silent guilt and regret of not having been by their side to hold their hand and share the torture of their pain.

Wars are not always defined by pronouncements or decrees of hostilities or aggressions.  Wars are not all fought and supported by uniformed and weaponized armies of warriors and soldiers.  War can co-exist within the civility, tranquility and normalcy of municipalities of every size, famed metropolises and capitals, small cities and town, urban or rural, affluent or impoverished.  And like the casualties caused by war, by crimes and brutal attacks of every kind and type, they all share a commonality, a common bond – hate and arrogance.

So, do not be deceived, tricked or deluded by misstatements, distortions, inaccuracies or outright fabrications.  For America is now at war.  And the enemy is not foreign, alien or imported. Walls, detention camps and caging women and children will not isolate or impede the casualties.  And tariffs and sanctions on foreign nations and peoples will not prevent the spread of violence on our city streets or in our schools, malls or churches. 

The enemy we face is well hidden and well disguised among us.  Our enemy walks with us, prays with us, goes to school with us.  The enemy can be a young boy or girl, a student, a father, a mother, a son or daughter.  It can be a grandmother who bakes cookies for her grandchildren after school, or a grandfather who takes his grandkids fishing on Saturday mornings.  It is a teacher, a preacher, a cab driver or a Hollywood star.  It is your neighbor, your friend, your brother or your sister, your uncle, your aunt or your cousin.  For you see, our enemy is hate, and it feeds and breeds in the hearts and minds of weak and fragile human beings like you and I. 

Most Americans are already a casualty in some way of this new war now being fought on our own soil and even within us.  For all Americans have been affected in some way by the hate that has spewed distrust, division, animosity, bigotry, racism and blood and tears across our nation. 

We are a nation at war – although not yet declared, and not yet a civil war, nor a full-fledged war between the states or families or races.  It is nonetheless a war.  A war veiled and cloaked beneath the words and actions of expediency and contrivance, and obscured by apathy and tolerance at every level.

So how do you say goodbye to the brave young soldiers who are slayed on battlefields, or the innocent casualties of El Paso or Dayton, Orlando or Newton, Sugarland Springs or a hundred other littered fields touched by hate?  How do we explain to ourselves and to our children, that we are at the mercy of a well-regulated, well-funded and well-supported insurgent militia of mad and delusional men that cannot be infringed upon to cease the slaughter and the mayhem? 

How do say goodbye?  You say a prayer of forgiveness for not having stopped the hate before it overwhelmed and seized the decency and morality of our humanity.  You ask for absolution for not hearing or seeing or acknowledging the symptoms and the warnings of the evil that flourishes unabated and unbound, simply because we chose to keep our eyes, our minds and our hearts closed to the realities around us.

How do you say goodbye?  With regret and with guilt.


Submitted: May 24, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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