I saw the movie ‘Love Actually’ again lately. I love that movie. It beautifully showcases eight different ways of loving, of getting together, and of special relationships between lovers, heartbroken people getting a second chance, friendships, spouses choosing to slip back into the loveless familiar, love of a child and puppy love. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Liam Neeson’s character is having a talk with his stepson (Thomas Sangster) about the cause of his sadness after having lost his mother. The boy surprisingly tells him that the reason he is so depressed is because he was in love, to which Liam Neeson’s character breathes a sigh of relief : “I thought it was something worse” and the boy in raw pain, answers “worse than the total agony of being in love?”
The film’s signature scene of the airport encounters is very touching, where people greet loved ones at the arrival hall, kissing each other and happy to see one another. I wonder how a parallel movie would have treated the same scene in the departure hall, where people tearfully hug each other, bidding farewell to loved ones, in a movie perhaps called “Goodbye Actually”.
We say goodbye quite a lot in the span of our lifetime. When we leave school, when friends move, when we grow up and leave our childhood behind, when we break up with our loved one, when we graduate from university, when we change jobs, when we relocate, when someone dies. Even though the world is better connected than ever before and despite moving apart we can still see each other on video chat, skype, and on facebook, it is still not the same as physical proximity and closeness among friends and loved ones. The act of saying goodbye has in it an inherent sadness as it carries an ending, a break in the familiar, a death of some sort.
A lot of ink has been spilled on stories, songs and poems about goodbyes and breakups-especially when it comes to love and romance. Our hearts are naturally made to love in a kind of continuity, we always dream of a successful relationship at the outset, of a rosy ending. But most times, it takes a few tries before we stumble upon what will ultimately be our happily ever after-if at all. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are living our happy ending story, despite all the signs to the contrary. We are an optimistic species, filled with hope, so we naturally have myopic vision when it comes to the writing on the wall. We choose to ignore signs until they really hit us in the face, or we hit the brick wall ourselves. But this is our nature as humans, always leaving things to the bitter end, in the hope that things will be alright, when they clearly won’t.
It is a sad day when you happen to say goodbye to something or someone you love. You know you will almost never get them back, you know you need to learn to live with that missing piece of your heart, of you. But then this is life, “live, love and goodbye actually”.
Never be sad for what is over, just be glad that it was once yours.