HomePoetryGoodbye, My Love, Goodbye

Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye

(Any musicians out there who feel inspired to put this to song are enthusiastically invited to do so. Make any changes to the lyrics/title you want.)

Hello my love, I brought the dog
and that old rug you like.
Tessa took that job in Sydney;
Petey’s learning to ride a bike.
Molly made a viral TikTok,
though I’m not sure what that means;
you know it’s hard to understand their stuff
once they get into their teens.

And anyway they’ll be here soon;
you can hear it straight from them
if you’ll just hang on a little while
the whole gang’s flying in.
They’d really like to see you, love,
so if you wouldn’t mind
just hanging round a moment more
so they can say goodbye.

You haven’t said a word in months;
haven’t known my name in years.
I’ve said a thousand prayers in vain
and shed a million tears.
It’s been heartbreak after heartbreak
as you’ve slowly slipped away;
still none of that prepared me for
this long-arriving day.

The hospice says it won’t be long;
my heart says that can’t be.
In ways it feels like we just met
that evening by the sea.
I was still getting to know you,
so my love I ask you why
they’re telling me it’s time to come
and say our last goodbye.

Do you remember when they caught us
making love out by the docks?
Or when that couple picked a fight with us
and found out we could box?
We had so many magic days
and passion potion nights,
but now it’s closing time, my love.
They’re shutting off the lights.

It’s been so long, yet it’s too soon,
oh but babe you are so tired,
and I promised you no feeding tube
and I won’t be made a liar.
So I take your wrinkled hand in mine
and swear to you that I
will love you for eternity.
Goodbye, my love, goodbye.

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My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Latest comments

  • cant send mp3 here

  • I’ve always seen it as strange that the same people that euthanize their pets out of love won’t allow that gift of relief from endless suffering to human beings.

    The poem was beautiful.

  • You just broke my heart, Caitlin. That was such a powerful and moving poem. Thank you.

  • So poignant, so heart-wrenching. Thanks CJ.

  • Through my tears I read your words, Caitlin, having said goodbye to five I have loved so deeply.
    But you and I know there are no goodbyes, for there is no ‘other.’
    So what have we lost?
    A warm embrace,
    A loving smile,
    Hand in hand alongside the azure blue sea,
    Apricot sunsets together,
    Savouring a rich, full-bodied red over a restaurant table

    These are irreplaceable memories, not lost in time.

    And so we remain ever-so grateful for the opportunity to share our time together.

    In appreciation of your words, and those who have touched our lives.

  • I feel like it’s a poem about this world, now. “…no feeding tube …”. I wish it was about Biden. Not coz it would stop the sociopaths, just coz he’s a corrupt turd.

  • I have an mp3 file, I used some of your lyric. Where to send?

  • Caitlin, that is possibly the best poem you have ever written. Depressing as hell but beautiful.

  • Well, you got me with that one, Caitlin. Now that I’ve dried my eyes I’ll send you the lyrics to a song that I wrote for my wonderful wife of fifty years (literally 24/7). She had Parkinson’s for ca. the last fifteen and in the last couple of years it got so bad that in November she decided that it wasn’t worth going on. Of course she should have been able to get the right meds and throw the switch but that wasn’t allowed, so she stopped eating and drinking and over nine days, with the help of the Hospice Angels, we saw her on her way. In June, on what would have been our golden wedding anniversary, we’ll scatter her ashes around the same apple tree where years ago we put our daughter’s.

    I Don’t Know How To Let You Go

    Half a century together, and wasn’t it fine!
    Through fair and stormy weather; my hand in yours, your hand in mine.
    On mountains and in valleys, through life’s streets and through its alleys
    Oh, we had ourselves a time! We had ourselves a time.

    With every year, with every mile; with every tear and every smile
    We grew so close together as we let each other in
    That now I swear I can’t tell where you end and I begin;
    Where you end and I begin.

    One day dark clouds filled the sky; there’s not much use in asking why.
    I watched you slowly fade away, year by year, day by day.
    And when I heard you softly say “I’m slipping away” I knew
    I was losing you; I was losing you.

    Oh, I know the sun still shines
    Dear ones and friends are all around
    The birds take wing and sweetly sing
    And flowers do abound.
    That all this is so, I know, I know
    But I don’t know how to let you go.
    I don’t know how to let you go.
    I don’t know how to…let…you..go.

    • Beautiful lyrics, thanks for sharing.

    • That was so beautiful. Thank you. I’m sorry for your great loss.

  • No music needed, my dear. Your words have their own sweet melody.

  • beautiful poem. this speaks to anybody who has ever dealt with a close family member passing away from dementia.

  • Ah Caitlin, that is so sad and so beautiful.
    I emailed this to my sister.
    We both shared tears.
    Eric

  • Thank You for this Caitlin.
    Simply Stellar !
    Love is All that ever matters especially when . . .
    “They’re shutting off the lights”

  • I’m having a hard time seeing well enough to type this…and I truly hope that it isn’t you or someone dear to you.
    You are amazing nonetheless, Caitlin. I hope I meet you across the bridge someday.

  • Honest, beautiful, and true…

  • I hope this isn’t about Tim Foley, for Caitlin’s sake. Whoever it’s about, I teared up. My sympathies.

  • My Heart is with you.

    Your beautiful tribute is LOVE in every word. LOVE made tangible. LOVE released into the beyond.

    Like you, I sat at my husband’s bedside holding his fragile hand. Wondering how we got there, dreams undone.

    Your poem is an opportunity to LOVE Bill again today.

    Thank you for sharing your Heart with us.

    LOVE,
    Susan

  • Dear Caitlin, i don’t know why you coined such lyrics.. woke up middle of the night to whet my thirst and found this on my tab! Is there something not right? i love reading your newsletter.. but this one gave me shudders. Lost an old friend lately and didn’t have time to say goodbye.. Life can be cruel at time! Keep doing what you do. You’ve made a difference in our world!

  • Beautiful! Inlaws in assisted living for 5th year now (92 and 89)…we’re right here…FIL sits around in just a diaper for last year…in and out of sickcare for what seems like the last 20 years…they rarely leave the room now. MIL, former nurse, worrier\nurturer hasn’t relaxed her whole life…keeps her bag of bones barely alive through herculean effort…killing herself more and more each day…can’t get her not to. Meanwhile elephant in the room hoarder house with 40 yrs of junk sits there rotting…they “don’t want to be a burden” after all. My wife, youngest daughter, is left out of most planning\scheming by parents and older brothers. who aren’t really managing their own lives very well…feels guilty\overwhelmed but powerless…good times! Most topics we discuss end with: “and then you just end up at The Oaks in a diaper anyway”. So many life lessons if you’re paying attention…clean up your stuff before you get too old…and whatever you do…don’t end up at The Oaks.

  • At a rally in Sydney outside the NSW State Parliament in support of passage of the Assisted Dying Bill – the option that the individual might have the right to end suffering from which their can be no cure or recovery – to have some dignity to their ending – and supported by somewhere between 80 and 85% of the citizens. Your song was part of the theme of conversations I had with several others at the rally – whose parents/relatives had been in a dementia fog way beyond their years of vibrancy. A far smaller group was present as well – their placards fairly blatantly suggesting that those in support of the Bill were in support of KILLING. Quite ugly, really. The intent is not to make Assisted Dying compulsory – merely an out for those suffering – if they wish to be able to make an exit on their own terms. Thanks for your words.

    • The “far smaller group” is right, I’m afraid. Artificially shortening incurable people’s lives is inhumane because you then take away from Big Pharma a rent of situation going from daily pills to more dandy expensive stuff like MRI tests, blood tests, urine tests, regular PCR tests now, maybe an operation or two if you’re lucky… It’s the condition in which they’re the most productive with an average expense of $80K per capita in the last year of life. It’s their contribution to society, their ultimate act of patriotism that keeps them from WEF’s Yuval Noah Harari calling them useless people – i.e. people who don’t make a buck for the ruling elites.
      By bringing this to an abrupt end, you kill the goose that lays the golden egg and then how do you expect Big Pharma execs to change their yachts? It would be well worth their while to hire mobs to bring this humanistic viewpoint across in view of that direct threat to their bottom line!

  • i hope i could write a poem like this when my turn comes. thanks Caitlin.

  • You’re doing wonderful stuff.
    (From a 76 year old white guy from Canada – who is thoroughly disgusted with my country.)
    Take care of your self and those you love. We need you.
    Thank you
    Robert

  • beautiful

  • Ouch! We are in our 80s, wife of 60 years has Alzheimer’s…..but we have our memories.
    Frank
    UK

  • This is beautiful ! It made me break down in tears. I am 75 and my wife of 58 years has alzheimers. Thank you very much for posting this. I am going to print it to save.

    Steve Sink
    Lexington ,NC
    USA

  • So beautiful, Caitlin! I just lost my best friend to brain cancer. So sudden. 3 weeks from diagnosis to death. Here is the poem I wrote the next day

    See you at Sunset

    He is where the trees kiss the sky
    He is in the breeze that wave the leaves, Oh, Hi!
    How are ya?

    Oh, Hi, Weesie! How are ya?
    Oh, Hi, Marie-Louise, How are ya?

    He is in the light that brightens up the day
    He is in the moonbeam that shines through darkest night

    Tom was there or here, but now he’s everywhere.

    Tears of joy, tears of grief
    Don’t be sad, Weesie, don’t be sad.
    But I am sad, I am sad.
    A little angry, too.
    Why now? Why you?
    It’s not right. It’s not fair.
    Too fast, too soon.

    It’s okay, he’d probably say.
    It doesn’t matter anyway.
    It matters to me! It matters to Cat!
    It matters to Charlie and Cathy and more!
    To Stefano and Molly and Betty and John.
    To all your students and to Tom.
    To Elizabeth and Emily and so many more.
    You matter so much, deep in our core.

    Don’t say that, Miss Peesie,
    You’ll just get upset.
    Don’t think about it.
    Don’t think about it.
    Just go for a walk.
    Have something to eat.
    Practice your singing or get a good sleep.

    Okay, Tom, I can’t argue with you!
    You will have it your way.
    We’ll see you at sunset, later today.

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