The Long Goodbye

The past few weeks, as we’ve gotten “serious” about packing, canceling subscriptions, disconnecting utilities, stopping direct deposits/payments, and the minutiae of moving overseas, we’ve been blessed to have friends and family ask to hang out with us one last time.

Spending time with friends before we go has been a wonderful way to catch up with people, while reminding ourselves of the great times we’ve had in Bloomington.  It also gives us the chance to make sure we know how to stay in touch once we’ve moved to Dublin. The “down” side is that I find myself looking at everyone and wondering, ”Is this it?  Is this the last time I’ll get to hang out with you?”

If you are one of these people, don’t be alarmed if you catch me gazing at you all moony-eyed.   It’s just that in this time of spreadsheets and checklists, it’s important to me that I don’t just check off, “Dinner with Mary and Joe”, but actually appreciate the moment. That said, as a self-confessed softhearted Bevis, I have to be careful not to over dramatize every casual encounter and trip to the dry cleaners.

This past weekend’s trip to Atlanta was an ideal getaway.  The ten-hour drive down south was long and hard enough to banish thoughts of customs regulations, and mindless tabulations of which store in town has the best bubble wrap.  By the time we got to my sister Linda’s place, my mind was ready for family.  The party was in honor of my parents’ 50th Anniversary, so the focus was on them, but had the added benefit of bringing together friends and family we’d not seen in years. We were able to focus on my parents for a few days, enjoy both close and distant family members, and say our goodbyes.

I’ll admit to feeling a bit sad when hugging my parents, who aren’t keen on air travel these days.  Living a few states away is one thing.  But having to cross one of the major oceans, and deal with immigration, can’t help but make you wonder when/if you’ll see your older parents again.

I’m happy to be going, but, damn, it’s tough to say goodbye.

When all is said and done, as hard as it is to plan and execute this type of major life change, it is the uncertainty of people (those you leave behind, and the ones just off stage, waiting for their cue to enter your life) that matters most and offers the greatest challenges.

Emigration Day: July 12, 2011 (21 Days)

Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

  • The Clothes On Their Back: Final Choices About “Stuff”
  • The Logistics of International Moving
  • Moving Pets

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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6 Responses to The Long Goodbye

  1. What a wonderful adventure – and learning experience for all of us. Thanks for sharing Glenn.

  2. Kay Connelly says:

    This was so touching. My parents are getting older, and I’m having a hard time being away from them for the year. I imagine it is much, much worse for you. *hug*

  3. It is not a goodbye; just a loved one in a great place to visit. 🙂

  4. You’ll be fine — and your folks (who must be my age, since Jack and I celebrate our 50th in a week and a half) may become more adventuresome than you think. They do speak English in Ireland so that makes life a lot easier for travelers. Our daughter lives in Cornwall, England, and, although I hate the distance, it’s a great experience for her and Jack and I have been there four times in the past 5 1/2 years.

  5. Kim says:

    Do not make me cry again– please!

  6. Cassandra says:

    What a great chance to see your family in one spot! They couldn’t have organised it better. It is indeed hard to say goodbye, but FB, email, Skype have all made friendships so much easier to maintain at a distance. And don’t forget about old friends you’ll now be able to see MORE often!

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