“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
A.A. Milne ~Winnie-the-Pooh~
I’m in Amsterdam again. It’s where Dan lives, the person I’ve been with now for three years. I try to get here a few times a year, he comes to the U.S., and we meet somewhere else once a year. This past year it was Australia and before that Iceland. We’ve had amazing adventures and exhausting travel time. And more than anything, we’ve had fantastic hellos and tearful goodbyes.
The other night we watched the movie War Horse. I had forgotten how it had affected me the first time I watched it, in the theatre with a group of friends (all who have still not forgive me for picking such a gut-wrenching movie). But it makes me think of my own amazing horse that I retired this year. We have been together for 13 years and like the horse in the movie he would follow me around like a dog, beg for treats, and push his head under my arm in a “horse hug.” Sounds cheesy right? But he has a huge personality as do many animals we surround ourselves with.
So now when I see him I can groom, bathe, pet and spoil but not ride. He’s 23 and his one leg is still mending. I leave with a hollow feeling like we missed something.
Sad goodbyes are a part of life. When our child gets married, moves away, death of a pet, death of a loved one, end of a career or end of a marriage. Goodbyes can go from the casual to the dramatic. It can be devastating in its finality and heartbreaking in its absence.
I know how sad my mom was to not be there in time to say goodbye when my grandfather died. I know I still beat myself up for listening to the vet and not staying with my dog of 17 years when they finally put her to sleep. You hear it on the news constantly after a tragedy, “I never got to say goodbye.”
It can be challenging but when I get sad about not riding or being in a freakishly far long distance relationship I need to stop and realize how lucky I am to have such love that it hurts to say goodbye.
A.A. Milne also wrote: “Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.” Our memories, experiences and heart are what keeps us unique and writes our story. Just make it a story worth remembering, even with the goodbyes.