Goodbyes are inevitable.
In the ME, in North America, in Europe.
Goodbyes are a certainty.
Everyone, at some point, will say their goodbye. Whether it's casual or final is up to the stars to decide.
No one escapes a goodbye.
But in the ME ....
Even the most casual of goodbyes becomes an event of tragic proportions, particularly as seen through the eyes of an 8-year-old.
A spoken "goodbye" denotes a potential permanent detachment in even the most trivial of situations.
This is because we are living as expatriates in a land where we have no roots. We do have friends, we have amazing friends ... and we will carry them in our hearts just as we have carried our family HERE in our hearts.
But we have no roots ...
And our goodbyes are too often final ...
- Your nanny when you were 3?
- She moved back to the Philippines when you were 4.
- Your best friend in Grade 2?
- She never showed up for Grade 3 ... her family moved to America.
- Your favorite teacher?
- She had to move back to Canada mid-year to care for her ailing father.
You may or may not hear from them occasionally after they leave ... it all depends on how solid the relationship was.
But the fact is your heart will ache.
And as a child, that ache is all encompassing.
You are left with your immediate family: Mom, Dad, and siblings if you're lucky.
No Uncles and Aunts to confide in, no cousins to depend on, no Grandmother or Grandfather to turn to.
It's just you ... and Maman and Papa.
So an old family friend comes to visit for a couple of weeks. And you have a blast. And you get spoiled. And you are so excited to finally tell all your friends and all your teachers that you have someone from 'back home' here to visit you.
And then after two weeks he says:
"Goodbye ... "
And you cry. And I tell you not to worry about it.
"Just keep him in your heart, where you keep Pepere, and Grandmaman, and everyone else who you love but is far away."
And you look at me, with your true blue eyes, and say "But Maman, sometimes 'in my heart' just isn't enough for me."
And I sigh, nod in agreement, and cry just a little inside.
Thanks for coming to visit, Uncle Shaun, and "aurevoir", "until we meet again". We will carry you in our hearts, but we really don't want to say "goodbye".
"Aurevoir, ce n'est pas tout-'a-fait Adieu ..."