Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saying Goodbye To People You Know You Will Never See Again

Cue Green Day- Time of Your Life

It's looming. It's sad. It's here. It's life. It's goodbye. Living in an environment that produces a quick turnover of foreigners living in an expat community means you get used to saying goodbye. If you don't you can look forward to living in a constant state of depression. It sucks.

Saying goodbye to people you know you will 100% without a doubt never see again can be difficult to grasp. Every second that ticks by is one less you will be able to share together. One moment you're together sharing a laugh, drinking a beer, taking that last facebook goodbye photo and then tomorrow they get on their respected means of transportation never to be seen again. It feels like death but slightly more morbid. Morbid in the 'No Longer in a Relationship' status type of way. You can still be apart of their life but only through a computer.

Sure technology makes it easy to stay in contact. There is always Skype, email, you can stalk their facebook for years to come (I know I do)...I mean thank God for that. It starts off innocent enough. Facebook wall posts that read:

"Miss your face!!!!!xx"

"I miss you so much baby girl! I want to be pre-gaming at your apartment and dancing to Lady Gaga! Get your po-po-po-po-pokerface on!!"

"Sat outside the mart last night drinking cheap beeeeeers. Wasn't the same without you."

You will also feel the urge to post every inside joke you ever shared, relevant gossip about what your departed friend is missing and how you can't wait to get out of this shit hole.

I miss the days when you said goodbye to someone and meant it. None of this false hope, none of the "Can't wait till you and blah blah blah get married, I am totes coming to the wedding!" or "Reunion time, September 2027, Las Vegas, be there!" You are lying. We all do it. It's the sense of comfort of thinking one day you will be reunited and the magic of the time you spent together will transcend time, oceans and general progression of life in different parts of the world. The fact of the matter is when people leave we all find ways in which to fill the void. New people do come into your life and new friendships will be made. Life moves forward. Soon the posts become fewer and far between. You start to miss Skype calls because of the massive time difference. That email thread you and your girlfriends were all included can go months without one person posting an update. It's really sad.

Going on year three of living in Asia I have seen many people come and go. Friends who at one time of my life transformed my frame of mind, opened me up to new discoveries, travel and art. Held my hand as I walked through the flames of my own transformation, now don't even find the time to respond to my emails...and I hold nothing against them. I get wrapped up in my own life too. While it can be disheartening I feel blessed. Blessed to have been touched by so many amazing people. Blessed to have seen little parts of my soul in the eyes of strangers. Blessed to have had hands to hold, waists to hug, cheeks to kiss and fingers to wipe away my tears. Chances are I may never make it to that small city in New Zealand or to that coastal town in England but I have the memory of our chats, your touch and if ever that seems to fail or I start to forget I will always be able to stalk your facebook.


  1. This truly just changed my life. Tonight i said a permanent goodbye to the dearest friend I have made since moving 2,000 miles from home. I know i will never see him again, and he does not have facebook. I should expect this as I am an Army wife and used to goodbyes, but i have never said a true "goodbye" before today. "Goodbye" had always been a substitute for "I will see you later in life" until today. We parted paths forever and will now live separate lives a thousand miles apart. My first true "goodbye" too a living person was nearly impossible to grasp mentally, but i wished him the best in the journey that lies ahead and he did the same for me. I can only hope that one day our paths will cross again, but i know in my heart that that wish is a dream that is bound to be destroyed. Thank you for this blog post. It helps to know that other people too have said true goodbyes.

  2. I am possibly leaving to a private school and I have to leave all of my friends. They all have meant so much to me in life and I never want to let them go. I grew up with them and now I have to leave them. They were a huge part of my life and helped me develop into the person I am today. I will never forget them in my heart, but I know that when I say goodbye and leave, I will never see them again.

  3. Well isn't this something - I had to make such another such a goodbye today and sometime after a truly heartwrenching cry, I found this article via google.

    I'm also studying abroad in Korea - and this summer is one I shall never forget for the rest of my life. You hit every point solidly, there's nothing more I can really say other than repeat your points back at you verbatim. I dearly, dearly hope I see my friend again, but that part where you said "Chances are I may never make it to that small city in New Zealand or to that coastal town in England".... it's all too true, isn't it? Everything about this post is. I've never had to say goodbye before like this in my life. In Canada, graduating from high school or college, it wasn't like a goodbye *forever*. Heck, we all still live in the same lower mainland-ish area of Vancouver, and even if they were to move to say, Toronto, that's still within Canada.

    But am I ever going to go to that small town in Japan where my dear friend flew to today? Who knows. If I go to Tokyo (which I'm trying to plan for!) it could be possible for her to travel 2 hours down to meet me. Or maybe we'll pull through and get together to meet another one of my friends I had to say goodbye (likely forever) to in Hong Kong. But for now, they have left me, and I am so sad. When I first arrived in Korea, I never suspected I'd meet such people I'd love so much like this, in such a short amount of time.

    I'll make new friends, I know. I already have. And then I'll have to say goodbye to them as well. Life hurts. But this helps.

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