"Goodbye" is the biggest misnomer I've ever heard. Because when are "byes" ever good? (Okay, I can think of a few instances ... a birthday party with fourteen three-year-olds, for example. Or dinner guests with hyena laughs and a tendency to enumerate their gall bladder operations - but I digress.)
I've known for five years that we would leave Brazil. I tried not to think about it, instead dwelling on the happy-here-and-now. It worked for me. Now, with less than two weeks to go, all that emotion I've been putting off for years is coming to a head.
I'm one of those people who tries to laugh instead of cry; once I start, it's like Niagra Falls on steroids. (Confession - I've giggled my way through funerals. Somehow it's so much easier to be irreverant than deal with the pain.)
For the last few months, whenever a friend starts to get doe-eyed and frowny, I turn on my brightest smile and change the subject with a wave of my hand and a, "let's not think about it right now." That distant moving date circled on the calendar isn't real - just an ethereal shape representing the fact that Little Prince no longer has to go to school.
I've been focused on my bulleted, responsible, stoic to-do list. No feelings involved.
But "Saying Goodbye" is my most important to-do.
And it's time.
I realize now that in my attempts to smooth away the wrinkles of despondency, I became too smooth, too un-feeling, too optimistic.
My friends thought I didn't care.
So it's time to open the floodgates and allow myself to really feel the pain of leaving this beloved country. It is a cleansing pain. It feels good, somehow, to sob on the shoulders of my dear friends and let myself bawl over how much I love them - just how much I will ache to not see them every day.
How often do we tell our loved ones, face to face, how much they mean to us? It is a vulnerable feeling, confession. Even Catholics do it behind a curtain. To admit how much we need each other, right into the other's eyes - it's hard. Hallmark makes billions of dollars per year so that we can acknowledge our feelings behind the safety of a postage stamp. In front of someone -we have nowhere to hide.
It's going to be a long, long two weeks.
(Apologies for "boo-hoo, I'm leaving" themes almost every day ... but my head is full of it. And this is my Pensieve.)