I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate goodbyes. In fact, of everything on the substantial list of random things that I hate, goodbyes rank in at number one. They beat out olives, inept drivers, florescent lights, LSU, mushrooms, and the word “irregardless.” So as you can see, the competition was pretty tough. Part of the problem is that I’m a fairly collected person. I like to think that I’m rational and calm with a healthy level of emotional distance (which often leads to jokes about my lack of compassion and sensitivity). But when it comes to goodbyes, all of that goes out the window. Suddenly I’m transformed into an emotional, sentimental, teary mess. I’m not talking a delicate tear in the corner of my eye and a lump in my throat. No, I’m talking a full on puffy-eyed, snot-nosed, can’t-control-it meltdown. Believe me, it ain’t pretty.
Even as a kid it was the same. I saw my grandparents twice a year like clockwork, but that didn’t matter when it came to goodbyes. At the end of each visit when it was time to go, I’d hug my grandpa, he’d say “I love you, Hon,” and I’d promptly burst into tears and sob for the next half hour until the plane had reached a comfortable cruising altitude. So as you can imagine, the last few goodbye-filled weeks have been a little rough. I actually tried to write this blog post a few days before I left Daytona, but just writing about goodbyes was too emotional and I couldn’t get more than a few sentences in without ending up in tears again. So yes, goodbyes stink, but as someone told me when I said that during our tearful parting, they are supposed to.
As I drove away, thinking about how much being separated from those you love hurts, and how painful goodbyes can be, that comment came back to me. Farewells are supposed to hurt. It’s really just a sign that you have connected and cared for another person, that you have invested in a relationship. If it is easy to walk away, from a person or a place, then there probably wasn’t much closeness or investment. So what the last few weeks of sentimental moments and sad goodbyes tell me is that I have been extremely blessed. Each painful farewell is a reminder that I have a life filled with wonderful friends and family for whom I genuinely care, and that I’m leaving a place in which I am invested. So when you think about it, I suppose there is a silver lining to those awful goodbyes after all.
*Here's a song from my soundtrack for this next adventure. I heard this song on the radio in Arkansas this summer and it struck a chord. This new journey was still just a far off possibility at the time, but when I heard the song I knew there was a day coming when it would say just what I feel. It's called "Follow Love" by FFH. It's a bit sappy, but indulge my sentimentality this once, I think I'm allowed right now. I promise to compensate with an extra dose of sarcasm in my next post. :-) You can listen to it here.
I'm gonna miss this simple town full of memories,
I'm gonna miss just hanging out with all my friends,
Rainy days and summer nights,
Skipping stones by the river side,
But I know... it's time to go.
So here's goodbye, here's so long,
I must go and follow love,
I feel my heart moving on,
I must go and follow love,
Carry on while I'm gone,
This is what I've been dreaming of,
I miss you so, but I must go,
Go and follow love.
I've got a heart that's full of dreams and a little bit crazy,
I can feel it pulling me to somewhere I have never been,
I'm packing up and leaving home,
To travel into the great unknown,
It's time, I have to go
We're not guaranteed tomorrow,
So we must just keep on living for today,
And make the most of every moment,
Every step along the way.
I must go, go and follow love.