Saying goodbye is a nonnegotiable part of military life. And we have to say farewell to so many different types of people, places and things.
Do we ever learn to love the goodbye?
I don’t know that I love it, but I am getting used to it.
In the beginning, every new kind of goodbye caused me to cry intensely. Leaving him for early training; first move with the military; first deployment; first reunion. All of these ended with my tear-streaked face.
Now, it takes kind of a lot to make me tear up.
I don’t think that I am not sad about saying goodbye or that I enjoy the process, but I’m used to it.
Saying goodbye is almost like a part of our family now. I know it’s coming, at some point in the near or distant future, so I’m ready for it.
It feels a little weird when there isn’t some sort of farewell in our future. Like we are missing something.
And saying goodbye isn’t totally bad either.
When you say adios to your current neighborhood and group of friends, it really just means that you are getting ready to fall in love with your new hometown and make new friends.
There is a routine and a rhythm to each PCS that helps to give it balance and moves it along.
Knowing what to expect makes it a little bit easier. I’m not saying that I love to pack my whole house up every few years and that making new friends has never been particularly easy for me. But I also don’t hate this process either.
For short separations, it’s almost like a mini-break. For a few days or weeks, I get to run the house 100% my way. I get to have everything ordered the way I want it, with wiggle room for the messes that kids make. The shows on TV are mine and I don’t have to endure pointless hours of pro golf tournaments on “in the background” all weekend long. I get to decide everything! I definitely miss my spouse, and bedtime can get lonely.
But having the whole entire bed to myself is pretty OK too! I also know that these trips are relatively short-term. There is a set end date and I know our reunion will be sweet.
I think that saying goodbye to our families is still harder for us or for me at least. Our parents are getting older and it seems that the military keeps sending us farther and farther away.
For a while, it was a long road trip to get home; now it’s 3 plane tickets cross country. In a few months, we might make it transcontinental.
It’s going to be hard to be apart for so long. Every time we say goodbye, a part of me wants to just stay behind. And it’s a struggle to stay strong and know that goodbye is really only for a while.
Deployments are still something I struggle with. I don’t know if I will ever learn to love or even tolerate these kinds of goodbyes. It brings back all of the insecurities and worries I had as a new military spouse. But there is a (small) silver lining here too. Deployments mean more wonderful reunions And I get to organize my house as I please again.
I know that everyone learns to cope with goodbyes in their own way and time, so my thoughts and feelings probably don’t mirror yours.
But I don’t think that we ever learn to love goodbyes, I think we just tolerate them and get used to them enough to move forward. Saying goodbye is part of the fabric of our lives, and I have grown to accept it and anticipate it, and sometimes grudgingly welcome it.