I have found in recent years that I struggle with ‘saying goodbye’ more than I have ever before.

Not just ‘see you later’ or ‘see you soon’…the other ‘goodbyes’.

The ‘goodbyes’ at a life celebration of a loved one or dear friend.  That ‘goodbye’ is deep and somewhat final in its saying.  It’s a goodbye that brings up not just the farewell in the moment however also the pain and grief within of the fact that a ‘see you later’ or ‘see you soon’ will never be said again.  It also brings up our own face to face with mortality and the questioning again of ‘where do we go now?’.

The ‘goodbyes’ of a partner relationship, when the point of no return has been reached and that part of life, which often was started on a ‘cloud of happiness’, is no longer.  Again, the emotions of grief, sadness, pain and loss are at the forefront however it is often wrapped up in anger and hurt which leads to personal reflection and unhappiness.

The last few days I have struggled with a ‘goodbye’ that surprised me. One of my dearest friends flew out to a new country to ‘restart’ her life in the most beautiful part of the world.  I say ‘restart’ as she had already left a couple of years ago and was living the most peaceful and special life in her retirement however the Global Pandemic meant that she needed to return.  I was sad for her at the time as she had worked so hard to have her new home and environment for retirement.  No one could have predicted that her return would have been for 2 years either.  

I recalled when she first told me of her plans several years ago, how I envied her…in a loving way.  I had been visiting the country she so loved and had indeed fell in love with it myself.  The people, the environment, the culture…all of it…is magical and beautiful.  I had shared her space on one such visit, celebrating my birthday and soaking up life! Every time I left I felt a piece of me was missing as I too had dreamed of living that life.

Over the last 12 months she has been an incredible support as I have gone through a brutal and heart wrenching marriage breakup.  As is her way, never interfering however always making sure she was there to lend an ear for me to talk, a shoulder to cry on, and help when I needed.

Conversations often peppered with “any news on the borders opening up?” knowing that her heart was back in her new home and she was desperate to return.

A couple of weeks ago, the borders opened up. I remember going to her and asking “so when do you leave????” and her face was already a huge beaming smile filled space of joy as she answered “March 22nd! I’m all booked!!!!”. In that moment I was both thrilled and suddenly deeply sad.  I was surprised by my reaction and kept it to myself only showering her with much deserved happiness in her news.

The following weeks I found my response to her leaving even more surprising. As she shared her plans and her ‘road trip farewells’ to friends and family before she flew out, my sadness deepened.

As I questioned this in my mind I knew that part of it was, selfishly, not having her nearby for the ‘just cos’ chat and just knowing she was there.  I also knew a part of me was a bit worried about the unknown once she left, as even though borders were open what was the country going to be like now and would she be ok.

I found myself ‘avoiding’ her for the last couple of days.  Not that I didn’t want to see her…on the contrary…however my heart was hurting every time I thought of her flying out.  I didn’t want her to see me cry.  Yesterday I called over to see her and give her a small gift and card of love.  As I walked away I felt deep pain and sadness.  I entered my home and curled up in a ball of tears.  

I went back this morning as I had found some currency that she could use and I wanted to see her. She wasn’t there and I called only to learn she was already at the airport.  I couldn’t say a final goodbye, I was choking on the tears as she said “see you on the flip side”. My love of our friendship and of her is huge and I felt it the most in that moment.  I also felt I haven’t told her enough.

As I walked on the beach, tears streaming down my face, I realised in that moment why I was so deeply sad at her leaving.

Because of the Global Pandemic, I may never get to go to that beautiful country again and I so desperately want too.  My soul and heart have been happiest when I have been there.  

I was also deeply saddened for me….my gorgeous, amazing friend of over 40 years was leaving to do what she always does. She is unconditional in her giving and love with others however equally, for herself, and she was off following her heart with the courage of her soul.  She was doing what SHE wanted to do, going where SHE knows is best for her.  She was leaving to live HER life….exactly what I wished I could do.

This ‘goodbye’ was a mirror for me.  It was an opening of my heart and a demonstration of what we so often ignore.  

Is the unhappiness and pain we often push away so as not to feel the rawness, actually the ‘goodbye’ we have to have with ourselves?

What would happen if we said ‘goodbye’ to the things in life that we are only doing, being and having because we feel it is what others expect from us?

How would our lives flourish if we said ‘goodbye’ to the blockages and barriers that are imposed in our lives. Either through our own doing or that of others?

Out of all of the types of ‘goodbyes’ in life…I think the most courageous is the one we say to ourselves when we know our intuition is speaking…THAT is when we actually find happiness.

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