How Do You Say Goodbye?
I love airports… And I hate them. They’re concurrently the happiest and the saddest places on the planet.
I love the anticipation and the joy of meeting someone who is arriving at the airport. Before our wedding, we drove out to the airport to meet each of the flights bringing guests to town even though there were others who could have picked them up. Often, while I stand and wait (always early) for the plane to land, I observe the other people waiting. I try to imagine who they are meeting. I love to watch these reunions.
But I hate the departure days. Then airports become sad places. They become the last place I see my loved ones (often, now, my children) until who-knows-how-long. Sometimes I cry for the entire drive home.
When I was in high school, my aunt and uncle and their three children came for a visit at Easter time. I remember when we brought them to the airport to see them off after a wonderful visit. When it was time for them to board we stood there in the terminal and cried, all of us, right down to my little four-year-old cousin. Later when I mentioned this to my friends they were amazed. I was surprised at their reactions. Didn’t everybody cry at goodbyes?
I saw Mom cry at every parting with her parents who lived so far away. Later, when I was in university, she cried every time I left on the train to go back to school. I can still see her standing there on the platform wiping her eyes with a tissue as the train pulled away from the station.
Train stations and bus stations are just like airports.
My cousin once said something to this effect, “Why would you want to spend time with someone you wouldn’t be sad to say goodbye to?” It makes sense. The height of our joy at the arrival corresponds to the depths of our sadness at the departure.
Life is filled with comings and goings. I just don’t like the goings. Do you feel this way? How do you say goodbye?
photo credit: Christopher Gaines