I haven’t blogged anything for the last 3 weeks. Whenever I took my Ipad to do some writing, it was a challenge for me to scribe my feelings and views. I had to take time out to contemplate on what was stopping me. Then it dawned on me how emotional I have been since the new year. It’s weird how your ideas and creativity struggles to break through your thoughts when your mind and heart has a bit of sadness. After the most beautiful Christmas and new year holidays with family and friends, celebrating the festivities and excitement of 2016, we had to say goodbye to family visiting us.
It got me thinking that my life, very similar to many others around the world, is stringed together with pining hellos and painful goodbyes. Living in the UK and away from my homeland, goodbyes have become part of our lives. 15 years ago when Anesh and myself together with my children, who were toddlers then, left South Africa, we were so fortunate to have had a huge send off because we were the first in our extended families to venture out of the country. If I can recall clearly, there were over 60 people crowding the airport departure lounge, to shower us with their loving hugs, well-wishers and blessings of good fortunes. As we took last pictures, stole last hugs and wiped away tears, we said our final goodbyes as we boarded for an adventure. Definitely an adventure I never knew that would bring us so much of joy, new experiences, growth, learning’s coupled with heartache, moments of emptiness and countless tears of goodbyes.
How we wish that our loved ones could be with us forever. How we wish that our parents could be immortal. How we wish that our children stay in our fold forever. How we wish that the laughter and joy we experience could be shared with all our friends and family…But I have realised that everything is temporary and all of life’s beautiful encounters have to be remembered as a memory. Why does it hurt so much to bid farewell? My son, Ash has recently left home, to continue his journey and follow his path. Although we are super proud of his achievements by studying at a great university, I personally feel to leave home and enter the real world at 18 is just way too young. Back home, we were fortunate to go to a University near home. We travelled daily and were spoilt with all of the luxuries of living in a loving home. However, I had to learn very quickly, with the repetitive phrase from my husband and son, “It’s part of life! Everyone goes through it!” I guess that as a mother, the umbilical cord is just too hard to cut. Saying goodbye and giving him a hug, every time we leave him at the train station, the overwhelming emotions plays like a broken record, ending with uncontrollable tears and holding on with anticipation to his next visit.
After Ash left in January, a few days later, my nieces, who came from Florida and South Africa, to spend the holidays with us, had to leave to return to their normal lives of working and studying. My nieces are very close to me; the only thing that separates them from my own children is that I didn’t give birth to them. So saying adieu to them was again, a rollercoaster of emotions from a downhearted farewell.
When the heart is hurting and a void appears, it is so important to embrace the feelings and then deal with them. If these feelings are not dealt with, it becomes a downward spiral. I have had many patients in therapy, who had to deal with similar emotions such as heart-ache, grief, distant relationships and break-ups. These goodbyes came with unexpected vacuums that grew into mental disturbances and depression.
So how does one find their happy space again???
- Don’t say ‘GOODBYE’ but rather say…until next time!
- Keep yourself busy- an idle mind allows you to think TOO MUCH.
- Get yourself back into a routine and do things that make you laugh and smile.
- If you can regularly chat to family and friends living away from you or abroad, it helps to shrink the distance between you. Face-time, Skype and social media are great to keep in touch.
- Go out during the weekends. Short trips and exploring new places is always exciting.
- Plan your next reunion with your loved ones who you miss.
- Do something different- learn something new. Your energies will be directed to that instead of sitting and pining or getting depressed.
Life is too short to be unhappy and miserable. Feeling heart-ache or sadness for missing family or close friends means that you have experienced what it is like to be loved and to love! Truly a special gift worth cherishing.
Keep smiling….remember U make UR happiness!!!