I believe that goodbye is one of the hardest words in the English language to use. Goodbye is a very bittersweet word, one which we usually don’t give much thought to. Goodbye is never easy to say to a loved one. Whether it is until tomorrow or forever, it is not in human nature to like saying goodbye. It is in that bittersweet moment which your strength and endurance surfaces and you persevere and move on, only to get up and do it all over again.
This became a very prevalent theory in my life when I got engaged to a man in the Navy. I met him while he was serving the end of his two year deployment in Ballston Spa, New York, with the promise of another deployment rapidly approaching. I never thought that saying goodbye was that hard until I got on a plane after visiting his family on his way out to his next duty station in Bremerton, Washington. I knew going into this that he would leave and that I would stay because of school, and that it wouldn’t be fun, and it certainly wouldn’t be easy, but I fell in love. We got to the airport in Iowa where he was dropping me off then continuing out to Washington. We sat in an airport café and had sodas and pizza since we had a little while until I had to board. I knew that by getting on the plane I was saying goodbye to a life that I had grown accustomed to, to a fiancé who meant the world to me, and to most importantly a piece of myself. I knew that in that goodbye that he would take a part of my heart and soul with him and that I’d never be the same again. They announced that boarding for my flight would start shortly. I wandered over to the security gates with my fiancé, while crying and hesitating, not being sure that this was the right path down which I should travel. I wasn’t sure that everything was going to be okay and despite the reassurance from him, I knew that this would change everything. We said goodbye before I traveled through security, and every person through the security check point offered me a box of tissues. I got through security only to look back and see my fiancé, the man that I once saw as this strong unwavering character, crying and trying not to breakdown in the airport. I continued on my journey back to New York and I will admit, cried through the two flights and most of my layover.
Being a military significant other, I learned that goodbye may be forever. I learned that I need to make the most out of everything and that nothing is ever guaranteed. I also learned that no matter how hard I cried, that it is not going to bring him back or make him get here any sooner, and that the goodbye is a necessary part of my relationship. I also learned, rather quickly I think, that each time gets easier. Don’t get me wrong, never will I say that I like taking him back to the airport, or leaving my house in WA to come back to school in New York, but I learned to focus on the good things. I also learned that one trick to make the time go bye faster is that you need to figure out the next time you’ll be together. I’ll be out in Washington for Christmas break, and I will figure out with him the next time we’ll be together. This way I always have something to look forward to and that although there will be goodbyes between now and then, there will be a hello to look forward to.
If the only good thing to come from my many goodbyes is to make me value the hellos that much more, then I will embrace it. I will take the time I have and make the most of it. I will no longer focus on the bad, but instead on the good. Most of all goodbyes have taught me that, no matter how long we’re apart, that the moment when we’re together again will have made it all worth it. And as the song says, with your goodbye you take my heart.
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