I don’t like goodbyes because I don’t like change.
I know. It feels like a contradiction coming from someone who thrives on adventure and taking risks. Consider it a flexible contradiction.
You see, I do love adventure and I take as many opportunities to fulfill it as possible. I spontaneously slept in a deer blind Saturday night in below-freezing temperatures and then hunted Sunday morning. (And by “hunted,” I mean “slept-sitting-up-in-a-chair-waiting-for-deer.)
But I don’t like change.
But life likes to change.
And it’s the change that feeds the adventure so it’s a universe-balancing act.
I get it.
When I hugged my brother good-bye, I didn’t think about it being the last time I’d hug him for a few months. I pretended that I was heading back to my house and he was staying at his and I’d “see him later.”
I did hug him tighter and longer. And mid-hug he cracked a joke that threw me into a fit of laughter-tears and hysteria. We did walk to the door together and before we parted, I hugged him again. Kissed him on the cheek.
We’ve known since October that this was his day, but in sneaky little ways, time evaporated and it was here before I knew what hit me. Last week, sadness was edging out any other emotion I was feeling about his departure, and true-to-my-nature I was laying in bed thinking about it.
In the midst of thinking about all the things he’s not going to be here for and the void his absence will leave at the dinner table, the baseball field, the afternoons on the couch watching football, the dance hall, the Cottage, our hearts – a new thought took dominance over all the other ones.
This is his time.
But it really is.
I’ve cried since he left. I wasn’t able to be one of the ones dropping him off, but the pictures from the scene made me cry. And I cried when I heard about other people crying and when I read Facebook statuses and notes on his wall. And when I wanted to play 4-handed Pinochile this afternoon and thought, “I’ll invite Emily, Katie and Daniel…” and then remembered that I can’t.
I’m proud of this kid and I’m proud of the way we love him and the people who are missing him. I’m proud he’s serving our country and pursuing his dreams. I’m proud to be his sister.