Saying “goodbye” to someone who’s leaving the country is probably one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do.
I can’t decide if my most recent “goodbye” was my hardest “goodbye”, or my second hardest.
The first time I ever had a “goodbye” with someone whom I love – and someone who was leaving the country for, well, basically forever – was Sammi who I spoke about in my Australia-based post. She came back after, maybe, a year or so because of one thing or another, and she stayed for a few months… and then, she left again. Then, I went to visit her, which was nearly 5 years ago. I think that leaving her when I left Australia was probably the hardest “goodbye” out of all of those because I knew when she left for Australia that I was going to see her again, soon; I knew it was not going to be too long. But when I left Australia, I knew it was going to take me ages to save up for another ticket – to get out there and see her, again. And, other than her grandparents, she didn’t really have any reason to come back to the UK. I knew she was going to come back at some point, but I didn’t know when. Luckily for me, she’s coming back to the UK to spend a few days in July. Anyway, that time when I left Australia was probably the hardest time for me.
However, just over a week ago, I had to say “goodbye” to a friend who I’ve known for a long time. We’ve gotten really close over the last year, and more so in the last few months.
Again, this is now the second time I’ve had to say “goodbye” to him. The first was a number of years ago… he was moving back to his hometown in Texas permanently, but unfortunately, several things happened and it didn’t work out, and he came back to the UK.
Obviously, for us, it was great to have him back, but you always hope that things will work out for these people because that’s what they want. You want these people to be happy… they are your friends, your family.
Ste made the decision, last year that he was going to go back to Texas in October of this year and make another go of it. It was a decision that, despite us (his friends and family) not wanting him to leave, we fully supported.
However, a few weeks ago, he got a phone call (or an email) about an opportunity in California. And, what we didn’t realise at the time was that this opportunity was an immediate opportunity. So, he had a phone interview and, a day or so later, he found out he got the job, and that he had 2 weeks to pack up his life and say “goodbye” to us.
It broke our heart to find out he was leaving so much sooner than anticipated. Our 2-week “goodbye” was shortened to a 1-week “goodbye”!
On his “friends’ last night”, we went to our local pub, had a few drinks, went back to his place, had some more drinks (I was driving; so I was sober!). Despite the fact that I was exhausted due to being sick during that week, I didn’t get home until 5.30 AM… I was avoiding having to say my final “goodbye” to him.
He managed to keep himself together, all night, despite the fact that he’d been saying his “goodbyes” to people throughout the night. And then, I broke down! The night was coming to an end, I was getting really tired, I couldn’t avoid the inevitable any longer… and that was breaking my heart! I got myself worked-up and upset; Ste came over to give me a hug, and before I knew it, he was absolutely sobbing on my shoulder, which broke me even more!
This amazing, selfless, wonderful human being was going to be moving across the ocean to the States in less than 36 hours, and we were sobbing into each other’s shoulders! The same thing happened again, as I was leaving; it was heartbreaking.
I didn’t sleep very well, that night. The thought of him leaving was killing me. We had gotten very, very close over the last few months – to the point that he’d become the person I could talk to about almost anything, and he knew he could do the same with me, as well. We’ve both got a lot going on within our lives and we talk to each other a lot about those things; that’s not going to change.
The thing about a person leaving the country is that they’re just a plane-ride away; they’re not gone forever. You can always talk to them – especially with the internet (these days), Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., you can easily get in contact. No one is ever truly gone! But, the ease of just going out – for tea, or for a brew, or to the movies, or to the pub (or whatever you do with that person) – is no longer there. That person isn’t there for you to cuddle with when you need a hug, or comfort you/just be there in person, as opposed to being there over the phone or on the internet behind a screen. The real killer is the uncertainty about when you’re going to see that person again.
I don’t know when I’m going to see Ste, again! As of right now, there are no plans for him to come back during holidays or anything. And, it wouldn’t be difficult for me to buy a ticket, and go and see him… other than saving up and getting time off from work! So, it’s that huge amount of uncertainty about not knowing when I might see him again that upsets me the most.
You can try and prepare yourself for these kinds of “goodbyes”, all you like… you still won’t be ready! It’s important to let your friend know that you care, and that they’re going to be missed by you… that you wish they could stay but that you’re proud of them for chasing their dreams, and that you understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. As long as they’re happy, that should be all that matters!
Ste, if you’re reading this, I miss you and I hope you’re having the time of your life! I’m so proud of you, and I can’t wait to see you… whenever that will be. Stay safe, Sunshine; I love you!