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Saying Goodbye Sucks

15 May 2012

If I had it my way, I'd go quietly into the night.
I wouldn't belabor my goodbyes, wanting to see each person that 'one last time.'
I wouldn't say 'of course we'll keep in touch', when I suspect we won't.
I'd let it be.
I'd respect it for what it is.
I'd be brave enough to say 'it was nice knowing you...have a great life.'

But, alas, a goodbye never seems the appropriate time to assert my deviance from the social norms,
to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth,
to force my will upon others.

People want closure.
I know.
And don't get me wrong, there are some people that certainly require a goodbye.
There are some people I couldn't just leave without a good hug {and a good cry.}
However, the vast majority of goodbyes are with my customers...
doctors and nurses that I like and respect,
and whom I'll likely never see again.
And with them, I find the month-long goodbye process exhausting.
Exhausting, but necessary.
As much as I'd love to, I simply cannot leave it to my successor to break the news.
I imagine a grumpy doctor looking over his glasses, sternly questioning, "Who are you?"
And the new rep, standing in the entryway, stammering, "Well, I'm your new rep.  You see, Emily went back to the USA without saying goodbye to you.  Surprise!"
Okay, they probably wouldn't say surprise.
But still, that wouldn't be very nice.


So instead, I wearily make my way to my customers and explain that I'm leaving.
I try to say goodbye.
They suggest we setup a time to meet before I leave, to really say goodbye.
So we schedule a date and time to have a coffee.
Over coffee, we discuss my future plans, how I liked Australia, and the length of my to-do list.
We finish our coffees, and stand up to leave,
at which point, invariably, my customer will say that I should stop by one more time before I go.
I smile, and half commit, saying that I'm quite busy and can't promise anything.
In my mind, I know full well I won't return.
I mean, how many goodbyes must one say?

At the risk of sounding 'woe is me', saying goodbye sucks.
It's lovely to have people who care about me and want to wish me well,
but I have over a hundred customers...
and it's exhausting.

But on the bright side, it's almost over.
My best friend will be here in less than two weeks.
In less than three weeks, we'll kick off the Big Adventure.
Given the circumstances, I truly don't have much to complain about.
Nevertheless, I can be a little self indulgent from time to time ;)

How do you feel about goodbyes?


  1. Goodbyes are terrible! I know the feeling... everyone wants to see you ONE more time. Just once more. And you end up feeling like a crazy person trying to please everyone at once. I move so often that I've finally gotten used to it and now I just have group dinners or parties :) Good luck with your big adventure! I'm excited to read about it.

  2. Depending on who it is, goodbyes are pretty hard for me. When family comes to visit, I literally sink into depression when they go. Goodbyes can be icky at times! All the best to you and the new adventure!!!

  3. I can definitely imagine how exhausted you are getting from all of the goodbyes! When I moved away from New York City, I was trying to say goodbye to over a hundred students and their families as well as my own friends. It was tough, but you're right people need closure and they like to hear it from you. Just keep your eye on the prize: The Big Adventure!! (Oh man that makes me think of Pee Wee's Big Top Adventure lol)

    Good luck!

  4. I've become very good with goodbyes, and I think it's because I had to say it to so many people. But more than that, oddly, I think experiences of saying goodbye to loved ones who have passed away and a few really close friendships that fell apart have made me good at it. However, I agree that the hardest part is always having those "one more time" goodbyes! Time gets stretched thin, and saying goodbye so many times takes a toll on the brain!

    All that aside, enjoy the appreciation and well wishes! And have fun with your BFF!

  5. I HATE GOODBYES!!! I cry not only before, but during and welllll after!! I am such a cry baby... even when I watch goodbyes on tv.. people I don't know.. but I can feel their pain b/c I've been there before.

    Good news? You're saying hello to many new beginnings and new moments you'll be making in life.. if that helps at all :/

  6. i feel exactly the same as you....and i love how you put it, to "respect it for what it is". it reminds me of a poem i read on facebook or something about how everyone is in your life for "a reason, a season or a lifetime."

    very cool.

  7. I hate good byes. I'm like you. I just want to evaporate like I wasn't even there. I'm not surprised that everyone wants to see you one more time. That would be a lot of coffee though!

  8. I felt the same way when I left NC last year. Just write a blog post about it and hand everyone your link ;)

  9. Goodbyes are so rough! I never can get through a really important good bye without being a blubbering baby. Sometimes I avoid them, which isn't usually the good route either.

  10. I'm with you- honestly, although not always warm and fuzzy, is always best. I, too, give in to social norms, though. We move frequently, and having acquaintances suddenly elevate to best-friend status when it's time for goodbye exhausts me. It's hard enough to deal with leaving real friends on top of the moving stress. That said... leaving people you truly do care about is heartbreaking. I've got to in about five months, and I'm already dreading it. I hope your light-goodbyes go quickly, and your deeper ones are heartfelt and not the end of dear friendships.

  11. Uh I hate goodbyes too and it sounds like yours are extensive. I think, in the end though, you will be happy you said them, but oh the process! I feel ya. It sounds like your customers must have really enjoyed working with you.

  12. I feel you on this one! Goodbyes are hard and they are exhausting, but I guess just remember how loved you are! Enjoy your final days in Oz :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and love!
Every comment makes me smile :)

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