Thursday, November 15, 2007

Proper Goodbye

A friend just left my house. "I'm not going to say goodbye. That's too sad."

I understood. She began by cleaning my house; we found friendship through the death of loved ones and personal illnesses and children. "How about 'Until we meet again?'"

She could only nod. Her face tightened to ward off the tears.

We each approach farewells differently. I have found that for different friends I react differently. For the school community, I have to say goodbye to each person. Despite logistically difficulties, we host a party this weekend for the kids and parents who have been so instrumental in making school great, wonderful, fulfilling. I'll shed tears. Of those I won't be ashamed.

Last month, I began shedding the responsibility of the house corporation presidency. One of my sisters with whom I struck an unlikely friendship and I simply said goodbye as if we'd see each other again for the proper farewell. Later that evening, we cried quietly on the phone as we realized that we wouldn't see each other again.

"It wasn't a proper goodbye," I lamented to an even closer friend, who is in the category of best friend. "Claire helped me through so much on a personal and professional level."

"Well," she quipped, her large, blue eyes showing the emotion her voice didn't, "You can forget saying a proper goodbye to me. You just leave. Just leave."


jmb said...

Such a sad time but such an exciting one too. I'm sure you'll make interesting friends in New Orleans.

Kell said...

If it's any help at all, I'm neither leaving you nor saying goodbye.

Sarabeth said...

Isn't that the beauty of online friends? We never really have to say goodbye until the final goodbye.

Trixie said...

When Lisa left VA, we went the night before and spent the night. I tucked my godchild into bed. I told her stories. I cried. She cried. The next morning we saw their personal effects put in a truck. We wanted to leave first so that the kids could have some private time in their home. So I sucked it in. I said goodbye to Lisa and was dry-eyed until I turned my back. The walk to the car about killed me. I was crying - full out - before I reach the car, all the way back to DC, and for days afterward. It was soooo very hard because I knew this time I would not be following her. For the last 20 years, I have followed her from one city, one state, to the next. It was never planned - fate just happened that way. But I knew then that we would never be in the same state again. Now 4 years later - I am still right. And it still hurts each time we say good bye.

elizabeth.thomas said...

And for some of your friends, you will turn them in to "online" friends. One of my best friends lives in Singapore and we did this. There have been times - both rough for both of us - that we are up at odd hours to comfort each other by talking, crying, etc. You will make new friends, but your old ones will still be there as well.