17 Dec 2014

Ten tips for easier goodbyes part 1

"The truth is that goodbyes never get easier, no matter how many times you rehearse them.  And expat life guarantees an assault course of farewells, demanding a strong constitution, nerves of steel and significant emotional muscle." Says Victoria Scott. 

This is the first of a series of posts on goodbyes. there will be stories and tips on lessening the fear  of goodbyes. Emigration can give you possibly your hardest goodbye. Unfortunately, it is not your last.

Once you have emigrated, there will be more goodbyes; the times you visit your loved ones and they visit you. Sometimes the fear of the goodbye starts before you have said hello. One of the immigrants interviewed in the book, The Emotional Challenges of Immigration, noted that as her mother was only visiting for two weeks, she felt there was always a feeling that there would have to be a goodbye soon. She said it left a cloud over whole the visit. I too have felt the dread of goodbyes before I start the visit. I now try to focus on hellos and making memories to carry me beyond the goodbye.

Goodbyes are sad because of the love you feel for the person you are leaving. By acknowledging feeling sad at saying goodbye is part of the loving, you take the first step to feeling less negative about the goodbye.

My worst goodbye as an immigrant was the most fumbled too.
2001 we all went to visit my family for Christmas. Mid-January four children under nine and I were at Heathrow Airport checking in to fly back to New Zealand. My husband had left a week before. A dozen extended family members were also there to see us off. Five check-in bags were bulging with Christmas presents. I had been worried about the weight of the bags until I was asked whether there were any batteries inside them. I had no idea where Buzzlightyear or other possible battery toys were. I wasn't even sure which toys made it into the bags. My nephew came to the rescue as he organised family members to help search for the offending toys. I watched my children begin to melt as the cases and their toys were pulled apart. Perhaps I could cancel the departure? Apparently not. An airport escort with an empty wheelchair stood at our counter and called my name.