Thursday, April 12, 2012


Good news everyone... I'm getting really good at goodbyes.

Okay.  That is total rubbish.  I'm just as bad at goodbyes as I was before.  My piano teacher once told me that practice makes perfect.  But the thing is, if this is in fact true, then I should be pure gold at goodbyes.

According to Ms. Little's Laws of Practice, this is what I should be:
Charismatic - saying all of the right things.  Telling the person what they mean to me and how they've made my life better in the short time we've been together.  Perhaps I would even wish them luck on their next endeavors.
Confident - giving strong hugs and looking the person in the eye when I tell them all of the above things.
Graceful - waving them off with a smile and dignified posture, while slowly wiping the gentle tears from my face.
Beautiful - because who doesn't want to be freakin' beautiful when they do something, especially see a person off?

Here's what I am:
Silent - I can't say anything.... absolutely nothing.  I am frozen into a state of complete silence because I have convinced myself that one teeny tiny sentence out of my mouth would result in intense waterworks.  To be honest...thinking of one teeny tiny sentence would probably result in them.
Timid bordering on anti-social behavior - If it were up to me I wouldn't even be there.  The person would just disappear and I could mourn their absence from underneath the fluffy duvet of my cozy bed.  Looking them in the eye?  In these situations that I would rather eat chalk dust out of a giant's bellybutton than have to actually look someone in the eye and share a "moment" during goodbyes.  It's not because I don't want to, but because I just don't know how.
Awkward/Paralyzed/Inept - Rather than waving them off with dignified posture, I, or rather my mind, is huddled in a giant heep on the floor wishing they could just stay so that I wouldn't have to live through this.
Ugly - This is really brought on by the "ugly cry" that I have mentioned before, and then develops into the "ugly pitty party" and later the "ugly trying to get a grip".

Two days ago I had to say goodbye to my parents after they made a short trip out here to see us all.  The goodbyes used to be hard when I was first married because I wanted them to live closer to me, and I was upset I was living in Central Illinois with no friends.  Then after I actually got friends and loved living in Central Illinois, they became hard because I had kids and had to watch the sadness they went through after leaving behind their grandparents.
Two days ago it was still hard to say goodbye even though I'm very happy with where we are and the life I'm living.  Just ask the people who probably saw me blubbering at the airport curb as I was hugging my parents goodbye.  Or you can ask the poor woman you chose to sit next to me in the cafe where I treated myself to a flaky croissant and  uninhibited tearshed.  Of course, you could also ask the people working at Ikea who watched me walk around like a zombie for an hour.  Ask anyone and they will tell you how much I still suck at goodbyes.  Because I do. 

This job is full of goodbyes.  And the really horrible thing about these goodbyes - the REALLY sucky thing - is that they really could mean "forever".  Those goodbyes are the goodbyes I am worst at.  We just said goodbye last week to a group of volunteers that had been here only for a few weeks.  And it was HARD...surprisingly hard.  
But even with all of my selfish grieving and sadness, I've recently been introduced to something new... The mourning of my children.  My little boys are also sad.  I'm watching them grieve these goodbyes and I find myself wondering if we're doing the right thing.  Every time they hug a volunteer goodbye I want to die a little.  Because these volunteers are forming them into the men they will be.  They will never get to know how much that particular volunteer meant to much they loved them.  For now, all they know is that they miss them.

And that is why I am not speaking to goodbyes for the time being.  They keep breaking my heart and the hearts of my kids.  Is it too late to give up goodbyes for lent?