Sunday, 23 June 2013

Which word is the hardest to say?

Which word is the hardest word to say in the English language? Is it sorry? Or is it goodbye?

I have been having a few teary goodbyes in the last few weeks, three of them at airports (always especially tricky) but this evening was my official going away gathering in Cairns and there were so many goodbyes to be had at once. So many good people - good friends - such uncertainty as to when we would be together again. Tonight is also my last night in my house, dear Mavis Blue, and tomorrow I put my two cats on a plane, consigning them to stress and fear for four days until Charles collects them in Montreal. I have offset this all with the remembrance of how hard it has been the eight times Charles and I have had to say goodbye at the airport, unsure of when exactly we would see each other again.

The hardest goodbye so far, however, is still not even over. I have a very special friend. He is 11 years old. He is high functioning autistic. We spend a lot of time together and tonight, even though I will stay with him and his parents for the next two nights before I leave Cairns, he cried his heart out for 30 minutes at my going away party and it broke my heart. I have been so strong and excited until now, but this was quietly devastating. The most positive spin I can put on the experience was to rejoice that he was able to actually articulate his feelings, and rationalise about how he knew I would still love him from afar and how happy I was going to be when I got to be with Charles all the time. That is a major communication for him and he was so clear about it all. I was very proud of him, but at the same time I was gutted. Sorry may be hard to get out of your mouth, but the pain of goodbye can last long after the word is spoken.

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