How Do You Say Goodbye? « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowHow Do You Say Goodbye?

How Do You Say Goodbye?
Published on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 by

picture of suitcasesI was raised in a Navy family, which meant moving several times during my life.  As a matter of fact, I thought everyone moved like we did.  It was normal to say goodbye to close friends, knowing there was heartbreak to follow but new friends in the near future. 

My own children do not know this type of life.  We live in a Navy area so they have said goodbye to a friend or two – but never to someone “significant” in their lives. 

This week it will be different.  This week, our entire family will be changed.  This week, we are losing a close teenage friend to Connecticut.  But how do you say goodbye? 

I’ll never forget the first time I heard about Vincent.  My son said, “Mom! There is a new guy in school and I think we have a lot in common.  I might ask him to come over some time.”  When I asked a few questions about this boy, I was stunned.  This 7th grader had lost his mother to cancer. 

She had many children, from young to grown and out of the house.  When she died, 6th grader Vincent had to make a very adult decision.  Stay with his father in CT and attend a rough school in a rough neighborhood, or come to our state with his sister and her family.  This meant leaving his friends and remaining family behind.  AFTER losing his mother and life as he always knew it.  Can you imagine? 

Vincent lost almost everything.  But he was fortunate enough to join our Catholic elementary school where everyone wrapped their arms around him.  My heart broke thinking about a young boy who was just about to step across the line to manhood losing his mother.  

Over the last two years, Vincent has taken my heart.  I love him like another son, period.  You just can’t NOT love Vincent.  He is funny, sweet and silly.  But there is a quiet and hurt side to him.  A side he does not reveal to anyone.  Not even me.  I want to be there for him as he grows.  I want to protect him.  I have a NEED to protect him.  I want to fill just a tiny bit of that void he acquired when his mother died. 

But that is not to be the case.  On Friday, Vincent is leaving us.  Vincent’s brother in law has found a job out of the Navy in Connecticut, an hour away from Vincent’s younger siblings and father.  This will be good for Vincent.  It will be amazingly hard for him to leave this area, but in the end, IT WILL BE GOOD FOR VINCENT.  I have to remember that. 

This week, my eldest son has to learn how to say goodbye.  This week, I HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO SAY GOODBYE.  I thought I “had it down” – the whole goodbye thing.  But children are resilient.  Moms, not so much when it comes to someone they love. 

Over the past few weeks, I have had to put on my strong and positive face for both boys.  “Vincent, this will be such an adventure!” “Vincent, don’t worry.  You will see… this will be a good move for you.  Everything will turn out OK.”  But inside I am a big bowl of heartbroken mush. 

What a difference, from childhood to motherhood.  Bonds become stronger.  Ties are harder to cut.  Heartbreak seems to be so much bigger.  And oftentimes, you have to hide everything you are feeling for the sake of those you are protecting.  And I must protect my boys.  ALL of them. 

This week, I have to learn how to say goodbye.  And my heart is broken.

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