Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Emotion unsheathed

I have a fight to pick with Mr. Webster.

"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.)

37 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Let it out! I love your posts. What a bittersweet time.

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

I was the same way until I lost a friend in college. I try not to miss oppurtunities to tell people what they mean to me.

Also, mad props for the Harry Potter reference!

Melanie J said...

I giggled through my grandfather's funeral, but it was more than justified.

I know how you feel. I'm learning that breaking down makes me stronger and my life richer.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Great post! I'm the same way, i always put a happy, laughing face on our goodbyes. Constantly saying goodbye to our new friends never gets easier no matter how cheery you try to be. *sigh*

Mommadj5 said...

I know it sounds trite - but remember that good-bye's are not forever...

Megan said...

I've never wrapped my brain around post-mortem accolades. If someone means so much, shouldn't we let them know now while we can? I'd much rather be roasted by friends and family now--so I can laugh with them--than have memories to dwell on after I'm gone.

I moved states away when I was 16. I left a bag full of letters with my friends at the airport for them to open once I got onto the airplane. I did the same thing--even taking excerpts out of my journal--when I left a different group of friends for college. But there's just something about hugging and crying it out in person. They feel the heaves of your sobs and see the pain in your eyes. And that's what makes goodbye so hard.

I feel for you. I've been there. Smell them while you can. *hugs*

Annette Lyon said...

Good-byes can be brutal.

I remember a particularly hard one where the other person refused to say it, instead saying, "See ya later," and running out the door because they could NOT say the actual words of "good-bye."

Debbie said...

You are right. Leaving is always difficult. I am sorry you are having to go through this.

InkMom said...

I am sad for you . . . but growth requires it of us, no doubt.

I am also the tiniest bit sad that I will be losing an international dot on my SiteMeter map. Not to make this all about me or anything.

But mostly I'm sad for you.

Also -- my Brazilian sister-in-law is home for the summer and I'm going to make her make that cake for me!

Kimberly said...

I am so, so much the same way. And then when you let the sorrow in it feel like you're going to drown in it. The thing we forget is how many dear friends are there to keep us afloat. You'll weather the waves just fine, and as you said, it's a cleansing sort of pain.

Keep the boo-hoo posts coming. What's the use in writing a blog if you pretend to be someone other than who you currently are?

Erin said...

Goodbyes are hard. I know you will enjoy these last two weeks...savor every moment.

Jan the crazy lady said...

Are you going to change your blog to Misplaced Brazillians now :) I am just trying to lighten the times.

Take care and you have lived in 5 years what most of us never get a chance too. You are so blessed.

Rachel said...

Stock up on tylenol. Or the brazillan equivalent. And kleenex. And waterproof mascara. And fill a sock (a clean one) with rice and put it in the freezer to lay over your eyes when they are so puffy you can't even see straight.

And most importantly: Stay hydrated. Those tears will really take it out of you!

I hope you make it through the next 2 weeks okay. Good luck.

Boy Mom said...

You Big Bawl Baby!

You are so wise to experience all the emotions, no matter what they are, in the moment that you're experiencing instead of dredging up the emotions from the past or allowing the future to taint the emotions of the present. That is why so many people love you.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

Every time we moved, it was so hard, and we knew we wouldn't see our friends who became our family. We have tried really hard to stay in touch with them, but it isn't the same. I will let you know that our calls to Brazil through Vonage are REALLY cheap :)

I feel for you, I really do.

jess said...

amazing how people can captivate our hearts in such a short time isn't it?? Drica, my favorite Brazilian, refuses to say Adeus whenever I visit and leave.. we leave it at Ate Mais because we both know that even though we may never see each other again during our mortal existence we are both doing all that we can to be reunited in the Celestial Kingdom.. Welcome to the world of Brazilian SAUDADES!!

Christine Gram said...

I love your posts about dealing with the leaving... I know I will have to go through this one day soon.

gina said...

We moved around so much when I was little and I got sick of having to say goodbye. How fortunate for you that you have made such good relationships that it will be hard to leave. I think it would be sad if you weren't sad, if you know what I mean!

Tobi said...

Love the reference to Harry Potter. Pensieve indeed!

Let it all hang out Bex!

wonder woman said...

I had two friends move away a few weeks ago. With each of them, the last time we got together we promised wouldn't be our last. It was. I wish I would've been able to say a proper good bye and give a hug. I know it was easier for us all this way, but that doesn't make it right.

And I'm still in contact with them. We blog and talk on the phone. You won't exactly have those luxuries. So I'm sorry. go ahead and feel the pain.

(Remember Garth Brooks' "The Dance?" just popped into my head. Cheesy, but applicable.)

DeNae said...

We all do this differently, and if weeping into your friends' shoulders works for you, then go for it. Just keep in mind, the celebration of those relationships has been going on for five years. You have two weeks. Do what you really feel like doing. If it's laughing and reminiscing, do it. It isn't sacreligious to enjoy something now even though this is supposed to be the "sad" time. If what you want to do is spend a day at a favorite shopping plaza, or wandering the streets of Old Town (I don't know what you have where you are; I'm just yakking here) then do it. And if you feel like crying, then do that, too. But only because you feel like it, not because you think it's expected. This was a real life, a real experience, and there's no reason to superimpose an artificial construct over the last two weeks just because they're, well, the last two weeks.

I promise, you have a lifetime to find a place for all of those people, all of those years, in the hope chest of your heart. Just be yourself for now. Do what comes naturally.

SO said...

Good luck on saying your goodbyes! It's hard.

Melissa Bastow said...

It's really your fault for making such good friends - if you would have just spent the five years living as a hermit, life would be so much easier now. And as a pointer for next time - the hermit thing works so much better if you fake being a mute hunchback with crossed eyes.....and maybe lose some of your front teeth. See - SO MUCH EASIER.

The Motherboard said...

I love what DeNae said. That's was I was going to say-- she just said it better.

Kristi said...

Goodbyes are just so hard! I am like you and would just smile through it... Hopefully your dear friends will understand that you are just delaying thinking about it too much!!

Deb said...

Please, let those wonderful people know how much they have meant to you! You're not actually getting tears and yuck all over us, but we still love you even when you're all mooshy.

Seriously, I totally understand. I'm a crier too, and I'll do just about anything to avoid getting into a situation like that.

Shawn said...

I try not to break down, because I hate it when my contacts get fogged up....

Be brave, my dear!

KC Mom said...

I hate saying good-bye. For some reason it seems so final to me. I usually try to pretend as if nothing is happening and that I'm walking out the door fully expecting to see them again soon.
But when you are moving so far away, you almost know...it won't be in this life that you see them again. I say...let it out. No regrets. You'll never forget loving and allowing yourself to fully feel the loss of your friends. I don't envy your next two weeks.

Barbaloot said...

Wow! Good luck saying good-bye and getting ready to leave. And I have been known to laugh during "serious" situations myself. It feels better and makes it easier to not burst into tears.

trublubyu said...

goodbyes are bummers. be glad it happened, not sad that it's over.

rad6 said...

ok, you made me cry and I am not going anywhere. A couple of years ago I had a really hard goodbye, and I found a great quote that I LOVE...
"What a blessing it is to have freinds that make saying "goodbye" so incredibly painful."
Just imagine life if you didn't care about leaving... what a tragedy that would be.
Arizona will be blessed by your presence.

elesa said...

I suck at goodbyes. So much so that I couldn't even finish reading this post. Yeah. I'm pretty ashamed of myself.

Brittany Ann said...

You are so amazing! I'm bad at goodbyes, too. Thus we always promise everyone we'll come back to visit. And we try to do that, it's eases the sting a little.

Rachelle said...

oh i hate saying goodbyes too. try to avoid it as much as possible, usually with a, "I promise you'll see me soon!" but i have a lot of regrets on goodbyes i should have made mean more but didn't take the time to "go there". so good for you. let your niagra falls out. your friends deserve it! by the way, loved the niagra falls on steroids...LOL!

nikkicrumpet said...

I remember how that felt when I moved across the country. And it still hurts 9 years later when I think about all the people I miss. Hang in there!

Shellie said...

I"m even sad you're going and I'm not there! It brings back painful memories of leaving Chile...

kanishk said...

I try not to miss oppurtunities to tell people what they mean to me.


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