The Bittersweet Nature of Goodbyes

I was in a card shop the other day and I jokingly asked the assistant if they had a goodbye card with the theme “Sorry you hate me forever for leaving” but needless to say they didn’t. I might design one, I’m sure there’s a demand for one done in a tongue in cheek British manner. I know that people don’t hate me but when friends and family get sad I do feel guilty although I think most people are happy for me and know that I’m leaving the UK for the right reason. That doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier though and that’s what today’s post is about.

    The theme of the last few weeks, apart from endless packing and running around aimlessly like an England midfielder trying to get things done has been goodbyes. I’ve said goodbye to friends, to family and even to a few pubs. Goodbyes are painful, often long and draped with emotion and when you have a lot of them in a short space of time they are often wearying too. Every goodbye is different in nature too, from the gruff and very British “See you around mate” (you won’t I’ll be 3000 miles away so I won’t bump into you down the local) to the more emotional and tear filled ones (like the one I’ll have with my mum on Wednesday). I read a quote the other day “How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to”  and it made me think that instead of mourning the loss of people in my life I should instead be glad that I’ve known (most) of them.

    I’m very lucky that technology exists to talk to people on the other side of the world for free instead of having to write and post constantly and that social networks make it easy to stay involved in peoples lives. Although flights can be expensive, I’ll only be seven hours away from the UK by air and that’s nothing to really complain about. So I shall stay in touch with people and return home for visits and hopefully entertain visitors in the US. Imagine 200 years ago when a transatlantic voyage might involve conflict with a French warship (well I say conflict but accepting the surrender of the French captain might be more accurate), scurvy and possibly rum, sodomy and the lash. I’ll let you decide which of those would be the worst! I don’t have to fear any of those on my flight although if I was flying with Ryanair they’d probably offer them all as an optional cash extra.

    There is a Morrissey song called “One Day Goodbye Will be Farewell” and that’s true because we all die but if you are good friends or family most goodbyes are just temporary. There should never be a farewell unless you are being strapped to a table under a laser by an overweight ginger man with with a dubious sexual predilection for gold and you aren’t James Bond. You say goodbye, I say hello…