Leaving Day

We had our leaving party this weekend. Today I’m leaving work. Tonight I’ll leave some of my closest friends in London. The leaving has started.

Generally I find it very hard to identify how I feel about it. When I know I’m going to say goodbye to someone my body seems to automatically defend itself from the experience. I feel a tightness in my chest that prevents me from feeling anything else. I know logically I feel sad, but I don’t actually feel the sadness. I can say all the right things (and mean them), “You must visit”, “It’s sad we won’t see you anymore”, “We’ll miss you”. Even though sometimes I feel more excited than sad, I still can’t feel it, “See you one day again”, “Thanks for the fun”, “We’re going on an adventure”. I have a feeling that this is a temporary arrangement that my brain and emotions have come to without involving me. The sadness is in the post.

Some people catch me out and make me very aware of the sadness I feel about not seeing them for years. I spontaneously cry with a deep throbbing weight in my chest when they announce it’s the last time they’ll see me. Usually this is because I hadn’t realised that leaving day was due. And usually they’re people who I genuinely don’t think can be replaced on my life. I call these the ambush goodbyes.

And then there’s the anticipated goodbyes. They’re the worst. I can’t actually think about saying goodbye to my family and closest friends without welling up. The thought of having to wave my mum and dad off, kiss my sisters, hug my brother or cuddle my neice, for the last time, makes my heart beat faster and the weight in my chest pushes up into my throat to restrict my breath. The only way I can avoid the feeling is to not think about it.

Trouble is one day I’ll have to do it.