Leaving Friends Behind: How do You Say Goodbye?

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Leaving friends behind
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tekmagika/

The cacophony of crickets brings me peace, as I sit on my porch and welcome the moon shining down upon a magical Carolina evening. My hair no longer sticks to my face, but blows gently in the wake of the passing summer storm. I am comforted by the crickets. They are always there, singing happiness or lamentation, no matter where I am in the world or when.

Another farewell party has been and gone. This time a farewell dinner with my beautiful team workers from work. This is after a morning spent playing in the pool with Kelly, a team teacher, from another school. The giggling of our children, chasing each other in the pool could be heard in the background as we caught up with our lives, past, present and future.

I try to ignore the brevity of the fact, that I soon would no longer occupy space with my friends in North Carolina. The farewell parties linger for days into weeks. Why? Because it’s the only way I can say goodbye. Its the only way I know how. Drag it out. Lessen the pain. The more parties I have, the more memories I can stuff into the beautiful-people suitcase of my brain. I don’t want to say goodbye, so I make it so there is one more day for us to meet, until eventually the plane will no longer wait and I run.

You would think I would be used to the frequencies of goodbyes in my life. I numb myself just to cope sometimes, and I hope my friends don’t see that as me not caring. I wish I could make use of the time, to tell my them how much I love them, how much I’ll miss them, and how much they mean to me. But I can’t. I can’t breathe this finiteness. I hope that by the eternal farewells, they’ll just know that I’m struggling to let go. It is not goodbye, it is I’ll see you later. My heart swells with friends trapped inside who I can see later through a certain song, a wafting smell, or a secret joke.

Through my memories they return like the full moon and follow me like the faithful crickets.

How do you say goodbye? Leave a comment below

19 thoughts on “Leaving Friends Behind: How do You Say Goodbye?”

  1. It’s always hard saying goodbye. I’ve always wondered how people move around constantly. Obviously we love to travel, but we have lived in our hometown our whole lives except for college. We have pondered moving so many times I can’t even count, and now that we’ve been home from our year-long adventure, we talk about heading back out on a near-daily basis.

    The thing that has always kept us here is our family and friends. We are torn because our true passion is going to new places, meeting new people, having new experiences, learning about new cultures. We would both LOVE to move somewhere else for a while or take off on another long adventure, but we just haven’t been able to pull the trigger. It feels as though we have to choose between two things we love equally, and it seems like an impossible task.

    We thought that our trip would “cure” us of this wanderlust, but obviously it did the total opposite. We don’t really want to leave our families and friends again, but it’s inevitable. Saying goodbye sucks, but you know what’s great? Seeing friends again that you haven’t seen in years. As bad as saying goodbye is, you know that you will see your true friends again. And while it may be years, it’s so much easier to stay in contact with everyone these days, so it really does make the waiting easier.

    Good luck on your future adventures, and just think of how much fun it will be to see your friends the next time.

    1. Leaving is so hard but you have to weigh it up with the importance of your dreams. You will always meet new wonderful people, and have your old friends to return to. That’s what always keeps me afloat. I know that by leaving now it is actually returning me to my oldest and dearest friends. It’s funny, but some of my best friends I have not spoken to much at all over the last couple of years, but we have already planned meet ups and I just know it will be like we never left. Those connections never die, and thankfully due to travel, I have been able to make so many deep, long-lasting connections with so many wonderful people all over the world.
      Thanks for your comment Adam. It’s always nice to share with others how to get through the challenging times of travel

  2. I hate hate hate saying goodbyes. The only thing that helps me is knowing that if I didn’t say goodbye to the people and place I was in before, I wouldn’t be saying goodbye to the people and place I am at now. Also, it is SO easy to keep in touch with people now thank goodness. Safe journey home!!!

    1. I know! What did we do before facebook and skype! When I first left to travel I was communicating via postcards, letters and expensive call cards. We wouldn’t have kept in contact with half our friends if it wasn’t for the internet

  3. I hate to admit it, but one of the biggest reasons I’m so hesitant to leave is because I have such an incredible friend-base here. I love them all to pieces. But at least you have the guts to do so, move on and say good-bye. 🙂 I could learn a lesson from you.

    1. It is really hard to do. It certainly gets easier in some regard, as you know what exists on the other side i.e more friends and good times. As with anything, it’s just taking the first step and then trusting that all will be okay in the end. You soon learn that it all works out perfectly

  4. I’ve had a lot of good-byes in my life recently. It’s been very, very hard! And now I’m suddenly leaving an amazingly tight group of friends to move back to the States for a job. I also like to drag it out! I know exactly how you feel!

    1. I think the goodbyes eventually help you a lot in the end to realize the one truth in life, and that is that nothing is permanent, everything changes. If you can’t adapt to that then you don’t survive. The eternal goodbyes help you to learn to let things pass by and appreciate them fully while you have them.

  5. Good luck with your move!

    I think I am quite like you in that I have moved around a lot–and continue to do so–but still find the goodbyes tough. I usually find that the possibility of the next place and new adventure eventually overcomes the sadness of leaving though.

    1. You are absolutely right. I would never let the sadness stop me from leaving, as I know (as with all things in life), it is only temporary and their is always a new light on the other side.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Caz – some beautiful ideas, and they feel particularly pertinent to me as an expat. It’s easy to feel you’re abandoning people somehow; I guess the trick is to do as you say, and to carry the memory of each friendship with you wherever you go. That more than anything is what keeps relationships alive, even if you’re halfway across the world from each other.

    1. Hey Miranda! Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for your lovely comments. I really appreciate it. As we always say “It’s all about the memories!!” And it is the memories that carries our friendships through until the next time we meet again and then we make new ones.

  7. I’m yet to really say “goodbye” – I can only imagine how long I will drag it out. On a positive note, with how amazing the internet is now, you can keep in touch with friends so easily. While you may not be able to have a good hug, you can at least see their faces.

    1. I’ve hated saying goodbye all my life I refuse I always say “see you later” because goodbye means forevor and I dont want to be gone forevor and I’ve only said goodbye once and meant forevor and I’ve regreted it eversince

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