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Farewells

  • Every day I shall put my papers in order and every day I shall say farewell. And the real farewell, when it comes, will only be a small outward confirmation of what has been accomplished within me from day to day.

  • In every parting there is an image of death.

    • George Eliot,
    • "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton," Scenes of Clerical Life ()
  • Mayo was anxious to leave and like so many enthusiasts seemed liable to turn a social escape into a jail break if anything threatened to hinder him.

  • Nothing is so dear as what you're about to leave.

  • Every arrival foretells a leave-taking: every birth a death. Yet each death and departure comes to us as a surprise, a sorrow never anticipated. Life is a long series of farewells; only the circumstances should surprise us.

  • Farewell's a bitter word to say.

  • Stations and airports are rehearsals for separations by death.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Every time one leaves anywhere, something precious, which ought not to be killed, is left to die.

  • Why do people always put on such airs when they are saying Goodbye? They seem exquisitely glad to be staying. Are they? Or is it envy?

    • Katherine Mansfield,
    • 1918, in J. Middleton Murry, ed., The Scrapbook of Katherine Mansfield ()
  • Good-byes breed a sort of distaste for whomever you say good-bye to; this hurts, you feel, this must not happen again.

  • There is something always melancholy in the Idea of leaving a place for the last time. It is like burying a Friend.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • 1800, New Letters of Abigail Adams: 1788-1801 ()
  • He turned back from the door. Apparently, like adolescents, he thought he had gone when he had said good-bye.

  • Leaving can sometimes be the best way to never go away.

  • Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • 1896, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • In all separations there are the elements of eternity; and in every farewell to the being we love we set foot upon an undug grave.

  • ... a parting is sadder than a death, Ma always said, for two people are dead to one another and yet go on living ...

  • Happy trails to you, until we meet again / Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.

  • With a sort of concentration which ended by becoming impatience, every one waited for a departure which no one desired. Somehow, the real moment of parting always precedes the physical act of separation.

  • It is never any good dwelling on good-byes. It is not the being together that it prolongs, it is the parting.

  • ... I have left all my business and all my husbands; I have taken with me only fair weather and my children, which is as much as I want.

  • Sign of old age: distress at all leave-takings, all separations. And the sadness of memories, because I'm aware they're condemned to death.

  • How shall we know it is the last good-by?

  • There are many [people] who have not learned to leave a house under their own steam. Sometimes they get as far as the outer threshold, drape themselves against the door jamb, and then show signs of becoming a fixture. ... Once you have declared you are going or have risen to go, behave as if you had an immediate engagement.

  • I am one of those irritating people, who hang on to the door-knob after they say good-bye, and will neither come back nor go, always remembering something else which must be said ...

  • ... in thoughts one keeps a reserve of hope, in spite of everything. You cannot say good-bye in imagination. That is something you can only do in actuality ...

  • ... I learned that time manages the most painful partings for us. One has only to set the date, buy the ticket, and let the earth, sun, and moon make their passages through the sky, until inexorable time carries us with it to the moment of parting.

  • Good-bye is always hello to something else. Good-bye/hello, good-bye/hello, like the sound of a rocking chair.

  • I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesterdays are buried deep — leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead.

  • It was typical of him that he lacked the taste to make a final exit. He spent too long at his farewells, chatting in the doorway, letting in the cold.

  • Even if we all went a thousand miles with you, yet we would have to face the parting.

  • ... there is no comfort in the word 'farewell,' even if you say it in French. 'Farewell' is a word that, in any language, is full of sorrow. It is a word that promises absolutely nothing.

  • Farewell to thee, farewell to thee ... / Until we meet again.

  • [To the absent-minded young woman about to leave who picked up her hat and scarf, put them down again, gazed around distractedly, and finally said, 'There's something I meant to say but I've forgotten what it was':] Perhaps, my dear, it was 'goodbye.'

  • ... 'farewell' is a monster among words, and never yet sounded kindly in any ear.

  • ... when people go away, or when we leave the places we love, or something we treasure goes out of our life — I have always noticed that before it happens — this leaving, this parting — when we think about it beforehand we are overwhelmed with sadness at the loss to come. ... the most unbearable sense of loss, the worst homesickness of all, so I have found, is this loss and sickness we feel beforehand, before we ever leave home.

  • Life is one long leavetaking.

    • Beth Nugent,
    • "City of Boys," in The North American Review ()
  • Goodbye don't mean I'm gone.

  • Departures and arrivals tend to emphasize people's personalities.

  • To leave a place, you'd best leave everything behind; all your possessions, including memory. Traveling's not as easy as it's made out to be.

  • We never leave each other. / When does your mouth / say goodbye to your heart?

    • Mary TallMountain,
    • "There Is No Word for Goodbye," in Joseph Bruchac, ed., Songs From This Earth on Turtle's Back ()
  • In separations, the one who departs is the soonest consoled.

    • Isabelle de Montolieu,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • Strange, that certain superiority the goer-away feels for the stayer-at-home.

  • She turned out to be one of those irritating people who get up to leave and then stand in the doorway chattering away.

  • Was it hard to watch people go? No. Breathing afterward, every day, was harder.

  • There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over — and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives.

  • people go / but how / they left / always stays.