Saying Goodbye Is Always So Painful

Question: Dear Luise: I am again having a terrible time seeing my son leave for Kauai where he lives. I live in the state of Washington. He’s lived over there for years but I haven’t yet gotten to where I can face the countdown and his flight out without a lot of pain. We are close and have a great time when he comes over every summer. He bought a little place just ten minutes down the road from me, and we have many walks, talks, and dinners out over the summer months when it’s too hot for him in Hawaii. I feel I should be more grateful and better able to let him go gracefully by now. He comes back mid-winter for several weeks. What’s wrong with me? Laura S.

Answer: Dear Laura: Nothing’s the matter with you. It comes with the territory. It sounds like you did a great job raising this guy and beyond parenting you‘ve co-created friendship. That’s wonderful!

Loving and heartbreak are very closely related. When one is felt deeply the other comes with separation. It’s very natural. All natural feelings aren’t necessarily experienced as wonderful. I know it is hard to see it this way but I want you to consider rejoicing because you have something so precious.

You know from past experience, that you don’t stay miserable. The aloneness fades and the distance seems more acceptable as time goes by. Face this very honestly. Be heartbroken and let yourself move through it. Rant and rave and whine and cry and then…get over it. It’s very important not to get stuck in self-pity. Acceptance is a much more comfortable place.

Your son is making his own choices, just as you had hoped he would. Just like you did at the same age. There’s nothing you can do to change that. You don’t even want to, not really. To a great degree, then, it’s none of your business. So, go through what you have to go through and then get on with what’s next that’s not about him. That is your business! Seek balance and fullness, multiple interests and your own adventures. Blessings, Luise

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