Goodbyes suck. How’s that for honesty? Truly, they are one of the things that we military wives have a love/hate relationship with. One would think that we become pros at them after a while, but the truth is we dread them just as much, if not more, than most people. Every PCS season brings with it its fair share of goodbyes & they never seem to get any easier.
This evening i sat at a table with a bunch of women i’ve become pretty close with over the past 2 1/2 years. Some of them i know better than others. We’ve laughed a lot, cried quite a bit, & shared lots of stories about our husbands & children & various life experiences. But the purpose of tonight’s gathering was a little different than most weeks. Tonight we gathered to share a meal and say goodbye to a very dear friend who will be leaving us in a few short days. A thought occurred to me while i was in the midst of these awesome ladies. My family’s time in Alaska is winding down as well and we will be moving in less than a year. So, i’ve decided to prepare myself for these looming goodbyes a little differently this time around.
Without further ado, i give you my top 3 reasons that saying “hello” sucks and saying “goodbye” is way better:
1.) Hellos can be awkward. People are weird. Some people are easily offended, others not so much. Occasionally I meet a person and we “click” and fall into a natural conversation, but most of the time I don’t spend my hello-moments really listening to what the other person is saying because I’m too busy wondering whether or not they’re weird and whether or not they like me or, worse yet, if they think I’m the weird one. By the time i say goodbye, i almost always know who the weird one is. And if its them, my goodbye is never awkward.
2.) When I say hello there’s a 50/50 chance I may never talk to that person again. If they are weird, or if they think i’m weird, or there’s really no love-connection between us there’s a good chance we will never really speak again unless we stumble upon each other accidentally in the grocery store or dentist’s office. But by the time i say goodbye to that person, i almost always know whether or not they will be a forever-friend.
3.) Hellos never involve tears, hugs, & snot. Since all the important goodbyes we say usually involve one or all of those 3 essential elements (if you’re a girl or a human being with any emotion, that is) i submit that those are precisely what makes goodbyes infinitely better. Deep feelings are the stuff that make life great. So i figure if i’m bawling, wiping snot, & hugging onto the person for dear life it can only mean that they’ve touched my life and my soul in a very special way & that i’m a better person for having known them.
In the grand scheme of things, the time we spend saying hello and goodbye to our people really makes up a very small portion of how we spend our lives. I’m a believer that perspective is a really big, important thing that we often fail to gain when we insist on dwelling on the small moments in life. When we put our whole energy into focusing on one moment in time, we often overlook the bigger, more beautiful picture that each moment is inevitably part of. So this time around i’m gonna focus on landscape portrait rather than the puny snapshot. The portrait that includes all the things i’ve learned & the ways i’ve grown & changed as a result of my people that i’ve come to know and love. This time around I’m going to try to cherish and savor the goodbyes. Maybe then the tears, hugs, & snot will feel a little less like an ending and a little more like a celebration of how we’ve become part of each other’s lives and stories.