Goodbyes and See You Laters

denramonal
Posted January 22, 2021 from Philippines

Note: I wrote this a few years ago and I did not bother to update some parts. I apologize for the confusion. I reposted what I wrote in my blog and shared it here but this time, with a more 'current' perspective and appropriate verb tenses. :) 

 

A few years ago I discovered that a friend was leaving. She was going to try her luck in another country and, although I was happy that she was going to embark on this new adventure, I was saddened just as much. I have to admit, there was that certain kind of sadness attached to being left behind. There was also that fear of losing someone in the midst of a new life that was about to occupy every space that solely belonged to her.

Another friend shot back then by saying that it should not be sad at all, especially for people like me who were always packing (at least before COVID19 happened). In fact, amongst everyone, I should be the person who will fully understand the need to leave after years of being stuck. This, of course, made sense but it did not change the sinking feeling that was nagging me ever since I first heard the news.

I remembered this feeling. I went through it before. I went through it countless times in the past. I felt it every time my mother used to say goodbye before she went to work where she promised she will be back in the evening but then she ended up coming home a week after. (The worst was when she came back a year after.) I felt it when my father dropped me and my siblings at our grandparents’ house where we never saw him and my mother for more than a year. I felt it when a close friend moved to another high school and I could barely recognize her months after. I felt it when a friend was gunned down in a dark alley while he was on his way home. I felt it when my pet, Charity, died while I was continents away. I felt it when the man I shared years of my life with walked away from what we tried to build together so that he could be with someone else. I felt it at airports when I send off loved ones. I felt it when my backpacking buddies left after invading my personal space for months. I felt it when my best friend migrated to another country and changed the rules.

I felt it during small moments too but I am more forgiving towards these moments. Like when a friend bids farewell with a promise to come back, or when someone takes home one of your favorite books with an assurance that the book will not be neglected. The impact, good or bad, is much easier to digest, thus easier to accept. It did not cause that much damage. The big ones are the frightening sorts. Sometimes, they turn you into someone you are not, who will be capable of anything, then you will wake up one day with twenty years behind you without an inch of an idea as to where you have allowed yourself to go.

There was something to being at the receiving end of that goodbye. The one who was leaving had her life ahead of her. There will be new plans, new places, new people, new love while the ones left behind picked up the pieces and went back to how it had always been; only this time, there was an empty chair that they had to get used to.

There was no such thing as ‘there’s nothing to it’ because there was always something and because you love this person, you will let her have a piece of that new life even if it meant that there was a possibility that you were not going to be part of it. You let her take a bite of what the world can offer because you know so well how amazing the whole experience is going to be. As much as you wanted her to stay, you also wanted her to find herself and make a mark somewhere, anywhere so she will not disappear as a 'nobody' or another faceless person.

So yes, I had problems with goodbyes (or ‘see you laters’ as to how others would like to put it lightly) and I still struggle with it sometimes, but this did not mean that I made my friend miserable. When my friend left, I still pushed on with the whole ordeal of farewell dinners, airport goodbyes, ‘do-not-change’ gifts, amongst others and I tried my mightiest not to cry when I hugged her. I urged her on and rooted for her. I also reminded her to keep me updated with the hope that she will not become a stranger the next time we met.

Fast-forward 8 years, we remain good friends.

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 12

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Barry
Jan 22
Jan 22

You are not alone on this Denramonal. I have had these feelings too, we all have them from time to time. It is good to know you are pushing through. Do not allow that dark cloud of farewells overwhelm you to the extent of deterring your mental state. Think of it as whoever you are saying farewell to is going to a better place where everything would be better for the person. The person is embarking on a journey, whether small or little, endeavor to encourage the person. This makes me feel better and also helps me to forget how 'lonely' I may feel when I think of the person's absence. You would get over it with time. Do not worry! Take care :D

denramonal
Jan 23
Jan 23

Thanks, Barry. True and this is exactly what I remind myself of also because she deserves it. No one should be held back and be allowed to go after the things they want. :) Take care also.

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 23
Jan 23

Dear Denramonal,
This is a profound and important piece of writing, and of what life can bring. By describing all the losses you allow us to take a moment and remember what each other have gone through, and what we ourselves have gone through, and to take care of ourselves, and to wish each other the best. You truly are a writer. With your willingness to share, you have reminded us all to take loving care in how we are with each other, and also of ourselves.

denramonal
Jan 24
Jan 24

Thank you, Tam for those wonderful words. I have always used writing as a tool to help me process feelings that I struggle with or emotions that overwhelm me. It's like self-confrontation without judgment because we too need to be as gentle to ourselves as to others. Take care. :)

Nini Mappo
Jan 25
Jan 25

Dear Denramonal,
Your piece is very eye opening. You know, I always thought of those leaving as the ones with more challenges, more hurdles, more transitional baggage, and therefore more vulnerable. Perhaps because I have spent innumerable hours on the phone being present with some who have moved away, but are isolated and lonely before they find a tribe to belong to. So I always see the drawbacks before I see the benefits of those who leave.
It is beautiful that in spite of the imminent loss, the process of saying goodbye, the actual goodbye and the emptiness there after, you release your friend with so much grace. Good on you.

Your history of parental abandonment explains why goodbyes are so difficult for you. I am sorry that you had to live through that fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and longing as a child. I'm sorry that you had to wait everyday in hope of their return, just to know that you still mattered. I have three kids one of whom I spend times on the phone with when I'm away as the only thing that can sooth him, and I can guess the dejectedness and self-pity of a child who is waiting for their parent to return, day after day. It's heart-breaking just to picture it. But I hope that you can feel it in your bones that you matter. Not because of the people you have gathered around you, but because of what flows from within you.
I hope that you stay sparkly in the mist of goodbyes, sis ;-)
Love and hugs and sparkles.

denramonal
Jan 26
Jan 26

Hello, Nini. Thank you for this insightful message. I guess it is one way of looking at it, depending on which perspective you are standing on at that point when one is reading it. This is the best thing about reading stories here too, other women's stories open you up to other things, using a different lens. Yes, historical variables (especially connected to family) can leave a lasting mark but one has the choice to surpass the painful memories or linger - in my case, I try every day to remind myself of the lighter/more positive side of things. You stay sparkly as well, Nini. :) Hugs back.

Hello, Den,

You're such a great writer. It reminds me of the days in my childhood when we'd visit my grandma three hours away from our home, and cry on the trip coming back home. I couldn't explain the sadness of being apart. That happened each visit. Haha.

You're so brave to share your vulnerability with us, and that is valid, dear. I gasped when I found out about your mom promising to be back and come back a week or a year later. And the rest of the stories you've enumerated with every hurtful goodbyes. I agree with Nini, that feeling of abandonment in your childhood is triggered with the word "goodbye". There is a painful, stubborn memory that is attached to it. And it's ok to be honest about it, dear.

You are courageous for letting her fly, and at the same time deal with the feelings in front of you. Thank you for sharing this with us. You so deserve people who will stay with you. May 2021 be more hellos, and less goodbyes with you.

denramonal
Jan 28
Jan 28

Hey, Karen. I find writing quite therapeutic and this is why I keep a lot of journals. (I have had them since I was a little girl!) I also find it helpful to really be honest when you're writing for yourself because you get to reveal a piece of yourself that many don't see. It also helps me understand why I feel and think the way I do. My childhood was probably not that ideal but it was great regardless - I am who I am now because of that and of course, alongside the good things rammed in my trunk of memories, I also have the 'not so good' ones. Every day is an opportunity to get to know myself and everything I discover or accept makes me a better version of myself. By the way, I wrote this years ago in my blog and reposted it here. Sorry for the confusion - I did not update the story accordingly but yes, there were a lot of goodbyes in my 2020 as well and these were indeed painful for I think they were not ready to leave just yet. May 2021 bring more hellos to everyone!

Beth Lacey
Jan 26
Jan 26

I think if you cry- it's ok. It is a demonstration of love.

denramonal
Jan 28
Jan 28

Hi, Beth. True. Crying is also another way of showing your love for the person. :)

maeann
Jan 26
Jan 26

Hi Den,

Goodbyes are the hardest words to say when you build that bond together for 2 weeks from a work training. But what about goodbye to a person you loved, spent memories together yet it will just broke your heart :( How about a goodbye to a love one who passed away. So sad naman :(

denramonal
Jan 28
Jan 28

Yes, there is always sadness attached to goodbyes but there is also the promise of new beginnings, whether here or the life thereafter. :)