On the suckiness of goodbyes

How lucky I am to have something
that makes saying goodbye so hard.

                                               – A. A. Milne 

On Monday morning, I dropped off my family – my parents, my sister, BIL and the munchkins – at the airport after three full weeks of blissful family summer vacation. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some pictures (and in every single one I am probably grinning like a Cheshire Cat).

What can I say? My family is awesome and I don’t ever get tired of them (not even after three weeks of hanging out 24/7). To tell you that my heart ached seeing them go is a huge understatement. It was more like it was being ripped out of my chest.

Those are the days when I want to get on the plane with them and never look back.

Of course, I didn’t do that.

Of course, I also consider myself very lucky to have family that I miss dearly when I can’t be around them. Heartache is much better than not having a loving relationship with your parents/siblings at all. I get it. I totally do!

I just tend to ‘forget’ that when tears blur my vision and all I wanna do is pull the blanket over my head and shut out the world. Saying goodbye is not getting easier, that’s for sure. In fact, it seems to have gotten harder over time.

Four weeks ago, my parents arrived with my nephew. My sister, BIL and niece came a couple of days later. I have no freaking idea how a whole month is already over again. I find it extremely unfair how slowly time seems to crawl when you’re waiting for something and how fast it speeds by when you’re having fun.

But it is what it is.

I wish there was a way you could hold on to those special moments a little longer. I appreciate them (and the memories we made) every second of every day (and I have 5000+ photos to prove it! Don’t worry, I’ll only pick out a fraction for your viewing pleasure!), but it always seems like precious times keep slipping through my fingers at a much faster rate.

I wasn’t the one traveling through time zones this time, but I feel emotionally jetlagged. I think being ‘left behind’ is almost worse than getting on a plane yourself. You have to go home to a now “empty” apartment. One minute they are there, then they are not.

I felt so lost.

My sister and I are known to bawl our eyes out at goodbyes as is, but I also kept randomly crying throughout the rest of the day. What is this uncontrollable madness?

My sister’s first message, after she got home was “I don’t know how you do this”.
Yeah, me neither. I myself often wonder how I do this.

But then I think about how much I love California and my life here and that we would have never had this fantastic vacation traveling through the Southwest together, if it hadn’t been for me living here.

I’ve realized more than once that there always is a price to pay as a consequence of your life choices and there is no real way to avoid it either. There will always be a “what if…”, no matter what you decide to do.

I often feel like I contemplate the what-ifs a little more than most people, but maybe that is not true. Maybe we just tend to not talk about it with other people that much. It’s futile anyway. But I keep thinking that everybody – in one way or another – must have similar feelings. And there is always the nagging feeling in the back of my mind how things could be different …

If you live far away from your family, how do you deal with this?

  1. Oh friend, I feel you. I understand all this 100% (as you well know). It does unfortunately get harder and harder to say goodbye each time we see our families and quite frankly it really sucks. I cried myself when I got back for a couple of days (off and on). But with each day, it gets better and you get back into your daily life. There is an odd comfort in that.

    I think we are very, very lucky to have such awesomely wonderful families. Not everyone has that and that is a true gift in life. I’m sending you many hugs and so wish I could give you one in person. xoxo

  2. :( – I could just copy and paste your post due to me feeling exactly the same every single time I have to say Goodbye.
    Yes, it does get harder the older we get. I have no answer on how I deal with it – I just try to make the best out of the time I can spend with my family/friends when I do get to see them.
    Stay strong and start looking forward to your next visit. Until then you have so many great memories and pictures to relive these last four weeks over and over again.

  3. Oh San, I’m so sorry for your heartache. Unfortunately I know exactly what you are talking about :( and it sucks. Yes, it just gets harder. Hope you feel better soon.

  4. I’m lucky that my husband and I lived for a long time in our mother country before we sought out a change and moved to our adopted land so perhaps that’s what keeps us from the what-ifs. We’ve had lots of visits from our parents but next year will be our first holiday back where we get to visit our siblings and some new additions to the families so perhaps it will be different then.

  5. Sending love and hugs. Glad you have an amazingly wonderful month with them!!

  6. Goodbyes are so hard. I struggled with this big time when I lived in Charlotte. I’d cry when I said goodbye, and then on the whole flight home (which was embarrassing) and then throughout the day when I got home. It’s so hard to leave the people you love behind (or be left behind by them). Like you said, we are lucky to have such strong relationships with our families but it’s just so hard to miss them so much!!

  7. I’m so glad you had such an amazing vacation with your family. Goodbyes are never ever fun, but like you said, it’s good to know you have family that you love so much xoxo

  8. Dear San,

    Copy that. All of it. I think it gets harder because initially all is adventure and we know we have a life and so many opportunities ahead. The older we get the more we are faced to accept that the years in front are being marked and becoming less. You have two homes and a piece of your heart in each. Maybe they both have grown as big as a one, thanks for sharing this with us!

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