15 Apr 2015

Ten tips for easier goodbyes part 3

This post has the last of the tips on making goodbyes easier. Tips 1-3 are here and 4-7 are here. These previous posts include links, quotes and anecdotes about goodbyes.

I would love to read your experiences of goodbyes. All comments are welcome at the bottom of this or the previous posts.

Ten tips for easier goodbyes continued..

8.     Make a tentative arrangement for when you will see each other or contact each other again, even if it is not certain, it gives you a connection to hold onto.
9.     Be aware of PLT - Pre leaving tension. Not just the behaviour as in tip 7 but the tensions and tears beforehand. Read more here, part of Chapter 7 of The Emotional Challenges of Immigration
10.   Goodbyes are part of life's progression. You have to say goodbye to stages of your life to make space for new experiences, new people. Embrace the change.

Goodbyes have to be part of our life to move to a new stage. A toddler has to say goodbye to being carried everywhere. Having emigrated, we have to embrace change and say goodbye to some of the familiar. We have to accept there are parts of life that we have to say goodbye to; easy access to our loved ones, cultural celebrations the way we remember them, we may even have to say goodbye to some of our plans or expectations when we discover the plans and expectations don't fit into our new environment.

For those who have been through emigration, the people you love in your homeland will have found the prospect of you leaving difficult. Parents and friends have to let you go. Those you love have to let go of access to you too. As an immigrant of nearly thirty years, I am now having to say goodbye to my children as they have leave home.
My son went overseas last year, and two daughters have gone to university. Each occasion has been sad, but also exciting as I anticipate their adventures ahead. I am fortunate that they are leaving for such positive reasons.

I handed  over my first adult-child to life’s rich pageant a few years ago. As the time to say goodbye approached, we embraced eagerly and I
had a momentary flash of saying goodbye to my mother. In this moment I slipped into her skin and my daughter into mine. I was my mother and my daughter was me.  I knew how it was to say goodbye to a child. Still embracing, I could feel the prospect of future departures with my children. Emotions caused by separation of child/parent, past, present, and future all at once was overwhelming, and yes, it made me cry.

Goodbyes are hard. There has to be a goodbye to keep progressing with your life.I need to progress to a near empty nester. My almost empty nest season is a transition, and as with all changes there are benefits. I have more time to follow my own projects - writing, speaking and book promotion at the moment. My husband and I have a wider range of subjects to talk about, although many of our conversations are dotted with I wonder if she/he is okay.

Sadness at saying goodbye is a privilege because it is recognition of the loving that was shared and a cherished stage of life. The  sadness shouldn't be denied nor dwelled for too long on. When I say goodbye to my loved ones in my homeland, there is a kind of routine I go through to allow myself time to be sad. The reaction of my adult-children leaving has been different, but still a reaction. On the evening of my son going overseas, we bought a car (it is not in our usual make-up be so decisive on major purchases.) With my daughter, I cried hard and on and off during the eight hour drive home. More prepared with the third child, I cried and then eat a lot of chocolate.

Chelsea Fagan talks of her take on saying goodbye when you are leaving a group of people. Read more

Good luck with your goodbyes. I would love you to leave comments. Don't be put off if you see 'No comments' at the bottom, that is to say there are no comments yet. Please put up yours I would love to hear from you. 
What do you do to make goodbyes easier? What makes goodbyes harder? Have you a poignant experience from saying goodbye?


  1. #8 always makes things easier. This is the first time in my life where I've been having to say many goodbyes. A few months ago, I cried in public for the first time (I'm a very reserved person when it comes to emotions) while I was saying goodbye to someone. I then proceeded to beat myself up about it for WEEKS instead of just accepting that I was sad, I didn't want to say goodbye, and I cried. I spent the whole day with the pre-leaving tension, acting sour instead of just enjoying the day.

    Saying goodbye for my mother was easier (she spent a year in London in college, and says she would have stayed if it wasn't for my dad), but for my father, not so much. When I came to Spain, my dad decided that he was going to come drop me off in Madrid and stay in Madrid at a hotel for one week...Well meaning, but bad idea. A goodbye that dragged along for a week didn't make things any easier on him!

    My great grandmother died suddenly last week, and I wasn't able to go to the funeral and the rest of my family was. By the time I found out she was dying, she wasn't able to speak to anyone (I tried to call and say goodbye). I wish I had called her before I had left to say goodbye, and I didn't. Now I can't get that chance back and i'm experiencing a lot of regret. I think it's important to not skip out on saying goodbyes even if you are like me and avoid things you do not want to do.

  2. Sorry to hear about your great grandmother Margaret. Goodbyes are often hard. Perhaps you can commemorate her dying in another way. Toast her life at a meal, go for a walk remembering her, tell a friend all about her, have a flower and or a candle in your room to help you remember her. I wish you well and I'm sure she would have loved you to have a great life.