Normally, when you keep doing something over and over again, you get better at it. It’s the reason why musicians practice all the time, and athletes go through regular trainings. Repetition does wonders in honing a skill.
Sadly, saying goodbye doesn’t work that way.
No matter how many times you watch someone leave, the process just doesn’t get easier. And no matter how many times you said “good bye” in the past, the next time breaks your heart worse than the last.
Few weeks ago, our friend Robert (the guy I was talking about in this post) left the Philippines to be with his wife in London. I’ve gotten so used to having him around all the time—knocking on our door in his pambahay and unbrushed hair (sometimes unbrushed teeth! lol) as if our house is an extension of his living room. He’s the “older brother I never had” as I would always tell him, and when my husband was adjusting to life back here in Manila, he was one of his first few friends.
And suddenly, he left for good.
Last week, another friend Joana (one of the girls I was talking about in this post) left the Philippines to migrate to California with her family. I’ve always wanted to have a sister, I guess that’s why I channeled all of that energy to girlfriends like J. She’s my prayer partner for years, she’s one of my bridesmaids, a part of my cell group, my nephew’s godmother, and now she’s my daughters’ godmother too—that’s just about the list of titles she’s claimed in my life.
And now she’s halfway across the world.
In a span of a month, two people who are huge parts of my life left for good, taking pieces of me with them, and I’ve been struggling with their (physical) absence and the finality of their departures since.
But how can I not be happy for them?
Robert reunited with his wife Tin, and they finally started their married life together after months of LDR. As for Joana, her family’s immigrant visas were approved after decades of waiting and praying for them. These are all good news!
The funny thing about saying goodbye
To be sad about people leaving is almost like selfish. And to be happy about their absence feels wrong too. On one hand, you’re sad to see people go, and you know that life (as you know it) is never going to be the same again. On the other hand, you’re happy to see their prayers answered and their dreams come true!
So you find yourself in between two strong emotions that pull and tear your heart apart in two extremely opposite directions.
What I learned about saying good bye
As one who experienced a lot of moving around in her younger years, and went through a torturous long distance relationship, saying good bye to places and to people I love is the hardest. At one point I thought I’ve gotten used to saying goodbye, but as I grow older, I often wish I would never go through that kind of pain ever again.
But things change. Time flies. People leave. That’s just the way it is. Change involves pain, and pain forces us to grow. It causes us to see situations with eternal eyes and teaches us the art of letting God do His thing. It helps us loosen our grip off tangible things—people, places, routines; and causes us to embrace the more important things, the ones that last forever—friendships, memories, lessons.. and that kind of love that transcends space and time.
When we look at saying goodbye that way, it’s not such a bad thing after all.