ARCHIVE LIBRARY

I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU SAY “GOODBYE”

by Jude Southerland Kessler … https://www.johnlennonseries.com

I’ve used the photo above a zillion times … in press releases, in articles, on various websites. But about a week ago, I came upon the original photo – the unedited version, taken about 2 1/2 years ago at a symphony party in my hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana. And this is what I saw:

In the immediate background, just over my shoulder, you can see my mom in a pale pink pantsuit. She’s right behind me … and she’s been there all the while. I never knew.

This full and complete picture set me to thinking: Who is in the background now? Whom am I allowing to fade into the shadows, unnoticed, while I concentrate on things that are (arguably) “more important?” Whom am I overlooking – and whom are you overlooking – as we race around madly, smiling for the camera?

Most people spend a minimum of eight hours a day at work. For The Beatles, especially in 1964-1966, that was a laughable minimum! They spent 10 solid hours a day filming, interviewing, starring on TV and radio shows, recording, mixing, touring, composing, editing, and taking photographs.

And for John Lennon – who also wrote, illustrated, edited, and promoted two books of poetry and prose during that time frame (late at night, at home) — the workload was far greater! Twelve hours a day, some days. Pressured.

And so, John’s wife Cynthia and his toddler son Julian slipped into the shadows. And so did his Aunt Mimi, who had raised him. And so did his sisters, Jacqui and Julia. John loved them all, intensely. But he just didn’t have enough hours in the day. And so, over John’s shoulder, in a dimmer light, they waited.

And waited and waited and waited.

The question John had to answer and the question posed to all of us is this:“Is it worth the sacrifice?” “Are our priorities in order?” Or (to phrase it as Ben Franklin once did), “Are we paying too much for the whistle?”

Ever since I saw that unedited photo of my mom and me, I’ve begun noticing other photos: photos tacked to cubicles; photos taped to workstations of nurses, postal employees, DMV employees, and lab workers; photos of the people who linger in the shadows, people who get one to three hours of quality time from us a night … or occasionally, a brief weekend reunion.

The Beatles once sang:

“You say ‘Goodbye,’ and I say, ‘Hello!’

Hello! Hello!’

I don’t know why you say, ‘Goodbye,’ I say, ‘Hello!

Hello, Hello!’
I don’t know why you say ‘Goodbye,’ I say ‘hello.’”

 

Is that the familiar chorus that our daughters and our sons are singing? Ist hat the refrain of our aging mums or dads, living alone? Is that the unvoiced appeal of our patient husbands or lonely wives? Is that the theme song of those who wait for us to come home?

Had I known – when that photograph of me was taken – that only six months later, my mom would be gone, I would have stopped and noticed. I would have spent more time with her, asked her more questions, learned more, shared more, appreciated more. I hardly think I would have said:

“You say stop, but I say
‘Go, go, go!!!!’”

I would have changed my tune.

We are all incredibly busy. Every day we are challenged to press on. But as we “go, go, go,” precious time is slipping away from us: Time to notice. Time to care. Time to tell them we love them. Time to share.

Is it time to readjust the lens of our lives? I think it just might be.

Visit the Official Website of John Lennon Expert and Author Jude Southerland Kessler:

JUL24 DG PARAGON VOD BAN
JUL24 DG PARAGON BIN BAN
SOUTHERN HERITAGE NEW 10323 BANNER
Bayou Mosquito Licensed to Kill Banner 12.14.20
JAN24 DURACELL BANNER
Generac Banner Ad for Affiliate Link
DENTAL PHYSICANS MEDIABIDS OCT23 BANNER
JUL24 MB CLINICALS BANNER
JUL24 DG PARAGON LUG BAN
318Central.com Banner Ad
Cunningham Copiers