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Goodbyes

In war, innocent casualties are a given. It is unfortunate, it is sad, it’s better to be avoided, but it is a given. People who have no voice, no quarrel with the status quo and no involvement in the disagreement, die. It is the same with divorce. While nobody dies, hopefully, there are innocent casualties. The children.

As a child of divorce, saying goodbye is a painful process. Whether its to a friend, a loved one, a country, a home, or a way of life. Whether it’s temporary or permanent it still bears the same emotional weight. It’s deeply, heart-breakenly heavy.

It’s a reminder of the first and worst goodbye we ever had to say, to a bond broken, a union separated and love dissolved. To the back of a parent walking out the door and out of your life.

My parents have been divorced for 25 years now but I still sometimes struggle with a simple goodbye. I still get emotional, I still cry and I still get sad.

I’m far into the last stages of a life lived in a foreign country. And I’m in the beginning stages of saying my goodbyes.

As I enter the last 4 days of a 2 year life lived in Korea I look back at all that was foreign – the land, the people, the language, the smells, the food, the culture, the weather – and I marvel at how familiar it has now become.

So familiar that I consider it my home away from home, that I consider my friends here my family away from home, and I consider my colleagues here my friends away from home.

As I start to say my goodbyes and I start to acknowledge that this is the last time I’ll eat at this restaurant, speak to this student, catch this bus, walk to this school, smile at this lady and see this person, I feel the weight of the goodbye lighten. I feel happysad.

I made the most of this opportunity. I embraced the change. I travelled. I met wonderful people. I laughed. I ate. I drank. I celebrated. I cried in frustration. I made mistakes. I dated assholes (that’s my father speaking right there). I expanded emotionally and spiritually. I lived.

I realise even more now in saying my goodbyes the importance of staying in the present moment. In savouring it. In absorbing it and in enjoying it. Days, weeks and years seem to be flying by. 2 years seem to have gone by in a flash. And in that flash I have accumulated an infinity of fond memories and adventures. Moments caught in the forever of my life.

And it’s for this reason, as I change lanes for the next part of my journey, that I leave feeling content, happy and free.

Thank you Korea, with love and gratitude,

GOODBYE

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