I've had several friends leave Chicago in the past few months. Catherine moved to California in August. Allan and Megan are moving to Seattle and we said farewell to them last night. And Arielle had her last day at work a week ago, and will be leaving Chicago to go to law school. Plus all the people who are getting laid off from work, people I have interacted with for the past five years.
When I was a kid I moved around a lot. Texas, Conneticut, Florida, Tennessee, Washington and Michigan in the span of 12 years. So I said goodbye a lot, was the new kid a lot. I wonder how that childhood has affected my feelings about goodbyes now. And not just goodbyes, but my level of emotional intimacy with people in general. It takes a long time for me to be able to express my love for someone. Or my anger etc. I feel strongly for my friends, but I am not very comfortable about showing it. I know that I honestly have nothing to lose by telling my friends that I love them, or that I have a bone to pick, or that I will miss them etc. But in the moment of goodbye, more often than not, I just hug them and say "happy trails".
And more often than not, in the days leading up to and at the moment of goodbye, I am not feeling much of a sense of loss. I don't honestly know if this is because some part of me shuts down in self defense, or if I have learned from an early age that people pass in and out of our lives for periods of time, and I am grateful for that time, but then move on. the latter feels more true to me, though it has hurt more than a few friends over the years who can't understand why I don't do a better job of staying in touch.
I certainly miss people who have passed out of my life. I miss Catherine and Arielle, and I know I will miss Megan and Allan. I am pretty sure Jess and Chris and Ollie will move to the west coast at some point, and that will really leave a gaping hole in my life. But I think, overall, I am happy for the experiences of my childhood, and the lesson to learn is to enjoy to the fullest the time I do have with friends, and to embrace the moment of goodbye whenever possible, and say the words that are often difficult. I love you. I will miss you. You have made my life richer.