I know 4 ways to say “goodbye” in Russian. None of them have the tone of finality that I feel in the English “goodbye”. All of them have the expectation of something in the future.
There is the most formal До Свидания which means “until we meet again”
There is the very common Пока which simply means “until”.
There is also a variation of the first, which is До + whenever we expect to see each other again. “Until Sunday”, “Until Tuesday”.
The fourth, used most commonly at the end of phone calls, is “Давай” which means “Let’s”. It is a very vague, with the object of the verb left unstated. Let’s meet or let’s talk later or maybe even let’s hang up the phone. This meaning I’m least certain of, other than the fact that it ends a conversation on the phone, which an expectation of talking later.
None of them have the final note of “God be with ye” = “God be ye” = “Good bye”.
My father’s mother, my grandmother Gena Bolender, went home to be with the Lord on Friday. I had called on Skype earlier in the day while she was still in the hospital, but she was already asleep under the effects of pain medication 7x more powerful than morphine. I was not able to say “goodbye” then.
I feel no sadness for my Grandma. I am happy for her, that she is free from the pains and discomforts of cancer on this earth, and that she is face-to-face with her Lord and Savior, and also reunited with the mother she was separated from at the age of 11.
I am however, very sad for my family who remain on this earth, separated from our grandmother/mother/wife. It is especially difficult for me that I cannot be there with them, separated by 10,000km, the Atlantic Ocean, and 8 time zones. I am not even able to fly home now, because my passport is at the OVIR office to renew my registration to stay in Ukraine for the remainder of the school year. I cannot fly without my passport.
It is this separation that weighs on me the most. As we’ve discussed numerous times at our English Bible Study, the main idea of death in the Bible is not the cessation of something’s existence, but the idea is separation. Adam and Eve did not cease to exist the minute they ate the forbidden fruit, but they were separated from their relationship with God. At the end of the chapter they were separated from the garden. Some 900 years later, their souls were separated from their bodies.
My passport is currently separated from me. My passport-hand relationship is dead. I am currently separated from my family. This is also a kind of death. And it is really weighing on me right now.
It is not a matter of being homesick. Regardless of all other circumstances, I know that I want to finish my education here in Ukraine before I leave. I will graduate in June, and then it will be time to go home. Until then, I am content to remain here.
But I want to be home for my family’s sake. To be in Ukraine is Christ, to go back to Texas is gain. I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am. But it’s not very easy.
I have been wanting to write this post all weekend, but haven’t been able to before now. My emotions like sea billows roll.
Please be in prayer for my family. For several of us, including for me, this is the first death in the family that has been someone really close to us. There have also been a great-grandmother, an aunt, and an uncle who have gone on before that I remember, but none were as close as my grandma.
She is both my physical grandmother and my spiritual grandmother, in the sense that she was the one who explained the truth of the gospel to my dad when he was 4 years old, and he was the one who explained it to me when I was roughly the same age.
Please pray. Prayer works. Thank you.