I Don’t Know Why You Say “Goodbye”


I’ve used the photo at left a zillion times — in press releases, in articles, on various websites. It is, in fact, the very shot on the 2016 (and ooooh so cool!) New York Fest for Beatles Fans poster! But the version I submitted to Mark, Carol, and Michelle Lapidos (the one you see above) is the cropped version. And, it doesn’t tell the whole story.


About a week ago, I came upon the original photo -– the unedited version taken about 2 1/2 years ago at a party in my hometown. And below is what I saw:



In the immediate background, just over my shoulder, you can see my mom. She’s right behind me…there all the time. I never knew.


This full 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 a good 10 hours a day filming, interviewing, starring on TV and radio shows, recording, mixing, touring, composing, editing, and taking photographs.


And for John –- who also wrote, illustrated, edited, and promoted two books of poetry and prose during that time frame (at night, at home) — the workload was far greater. 12 hours a day, some days. Pressured.


And so, Cynthia slipped into the shadows. And so did Mimi. And so did his sisters, Jacqui and Ju. And even little Julian. Just over John’s shoulder, in a dimmer light, they waited. And waited and waited and waited.


The questions John had to answer and the questions posed to us all are… “Is it worth the sacrifice?” “Are our priorities in order?” Or (to phrase it quaintly, 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 work stations of nurses, accountants and car salesmen; photos of people we rarely see; photos of people who get one-to-three hours a night, at best, or a brief weekend reunion.


“You say ‘Goodbye,’

But I say, ‘Hello!…Hello! Hello!’

I don’t know why you say, ‘Goodbye.’

I say, ‘Hello!’”



Is that the familiar chorus of our daughters and our sons? Is that 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, asked 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 think 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: Time to notice. Time to care. Time to tell them. Time to share.


Is it time to readjust the focus? I think it just might be.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com


Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.


One thought on “I Don’t Know Why You Say “Goodbye”

  1. Whatever we do or how we spend our time, there will inevitably be some later regrets, and decisions made by loved ones can in fact cause much pain. My parents took me to new Zealand as an infant, to give me a ‘better life’ and although I loved that new place I was still taken away from my wider family back on the banks of the Mersey. Its just life and we have to accept the hand we get dealt. I enjoyed reading this though Jude,

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