I meant to publish this post four days ago, the day before I left for California. As I was going through all my family and friends and visiting one last time the title for this post popped in my head. Instead of beginnings from ends I first though of “nights we don’t want to end” because indeed, each of my goodbyes I drew out for hours. Awkwardly standing around saying “alright” about 50 times before finally heading out the door. There were tears, there were embraces that shook from the power of our sobs, but there was always laughter and the reassurance, “See you later.”
After I thought of the title, I couldn’t really think of what else to say. How do you describe a goodbye? A more accurate questions would be, how do you describe a goodbye and do it justice? I wasn’t sure how to capture the emotion in my words. Plus, when I started this post I was exhausted from trying to pack. If I tried to explain my goodbye with my sister it would go like this:
I told my dad we would be home by 2, but the lunch Charissa and I prepared wasn’t ready yet. We love to cook so we took our time with the food. We made stir-fried eggplant and a kale slaw with both veggies coming from her garden. Then we added some spinach and feta chicken sausage, pearled mozzarella, and fresh strawberries and blueberries. It looked amazing and tasted delicious! We chatted and ate together and I kept pushing the feeling that this was our last meal in I don’t know how long away from me. We were nearing the hour late mark so I said, “Alright, I guess we better be going.” Kevin and I gathered our belongings from staying over the night before and then stood to face Charissa and her boyfriend. “Alright.” “Alright.” Then we started talking about something else briefly, squeezing some last minute conversation in and delaying the inevitable. “Alright, we should probably go now.” “Alright.” “Alright.” Again, we move to a different conversation, but this one drifts towards acknowledging that we have to say goodbye. Everyone’s looking around at each other and then Charissa and I lock eyes. It takes about a second of looking at each other until both of us burst into tears and run towards each other to embrace. My tears hit her shoulder and hers hit mine, and it’s a tight hug, not like a normal hug. I haven’t given out too many goodbye hugs, but they’re bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a warm, loving, embrace. A type of human connection that makes you feel loved and complete. But when it ends…all of that gets ripped away, because you know that’s the last time you can feel that way, from that person, and in my case for a long time. “Alright.” “Alright.” We stand around some more, wiping our tears and laughing about our outburst. “Alright, we need to leave.” “Alright.” Finally, we head to the door.
I had thought I would write about each goodbye, but that would be too hard and too painful. I like to be honest when I write and not leave things out or sugarcoat them. So I’ll tell you, I cried when I had to write about saying goodbye to my sister, because I had to relive the moment in my head to try and get it right. Life is a balance of sad and happy, and people like to read about that balance. My goodbyes were the sad, but my adventure has been the happy. I have taken at least one picture in each state we’ve been through. Here are some pictures of our journey so far:
I’m in Omaha, Nebraska right now. I’ll be taking more pictures along the way and some reflections I’ve had as well. Now, it’s time to hit the road again.