I am often questioned on how I bid people farewell.
I say, “See you on the other side.”
People ask me, I guess, in the expectation that there is some definite answer, but I haven’t one, because there isn’t one.
The other side of what?
I don’t know.
We don’t know.
Could be the other side of some small stretch of time and space.
Could be tomorrow.
Could be never, or, the other side of this fleeting flash of shared embodied experience.
My good friend Luke says ‘see you on the other side’ to his fellow swimmers before setting out on a swim.
In Luke’s meaning, the other side could be post-swim, that side in which one’s body and mind is stimulated but relaxed, bursting with energy but calmed.
My dear friend Jeanie had an uncle who lived on Sark; he started every day with a sea swim.
One morning, he went for his swim and did not return, claimed by the sea, and his soul now rests on the other side.
You are not guaranteed tomorrow.
If you are blessed by a tomorrow, you are not guaranteed it with the same souls in it.
I met a lovely Ukrainian lady a week ago in Tbilisi. When I left, I messaged her, “It was an absolute and enlightening pleasure to have met you my love.”
Assuming an existential crisis, she replied, “Mate, are you okay?…”
Not being guaranteed our tomorrows, I think these things are worth saying.
Perhaps if you said such things all the time it would be overkill, a cause for concern, even.
Sadly, the last words shared between her and her father were in anger, before he passed over to the other side.
We don’t know what resides on the other side of our shared experiences, or what or where that side even is.
I tend not to say things I feel I will regret, which is an ever present danger.
I find more dangerous and am more afraid of not saying things and regretting it.
We lost a young, beautiful, flaming love-ball of a soul some days ago in a tragic accident.
We would greet each other with flamboyant displays of affection. A kiss on one cheek, then the other, and then a third one: “Mwah, mwah, mwah darling.” Sometimes he would leap into my arms, or sit on my lap.
He did not leave things unsaid, and brought unrestrained love and chirp and energy into the world. Unashamedly. It was an unearned gift to have known such a glorious soul.
I messaged him recently, “Hey dude, my lover, it’s been an absolutely and resplendently glorious time with you in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan shag… Stay safe, stay chirpy – and I’ll see you on the other side.”
He replied, “Same brother love you it was awesome time I will miss you very much and see you on the other side.”
On the other side he now resides, at rest, at peace, missed by us whom he blessed with his love and chirp and energy.
Rest in peace, and I’ll see you on the other side, brother.
One thought on “See You on the Other Side”