Grieving Good Seasons

The opening line of this post was supposed to be, “I hate goodbyes.” That's not entirely true. There have been plenty of people in my life I've been happy to see the back of. I shouldn't say it, but it's the truth, and I know you all love to come here for my eloquent slices of candor.

Goodbyes to loved ones are tough. I've said many over the years in my travels. Leaving folks at home to go live in Australia in the late nineties, then leaving those Aussie friends to fly back to Eire, more “see ya laters” when I moved to London and leaving there after seven years to move to France. I have been here almost nine years and because this country has become my home and Paris my city, the goodbyes here have been the most difficult.

Deep, deep connections are not necessarily forged over a long period of time. Some become life-long bonds after the first shared cup of coffee. Others are slow burners that when eventually lit, never extinguish regardless of time passed or country border. I've known both.

In the space of two months, multiple families have upped sticks and moved from the City of Lights to far, far away places. Another rockstar friend is leaving at the end of August. The majority of these parting ways I've known about in advance. Six months ago I found myself inching away from these relationships in self-preservation mode. My thinking was that when the time came the blow wouldn't hurt as much. Deep down I knew this was flawed reasoning.

 Photo:  AnJo Beckers

A learned man once told me something about grief—(I thought I grieved pretty well having overcome some heavy loss in my life) he said, “You have to grieve the good and the bad.” I never looked at it that way. I have always paired grief with the loss of a friend, the death of a dream, the fracture of an intimate relationship and so on. It never occurred to me that when the season changes and beloved friends move on I have to grieve that in the same way as I would a death.

In that moment six months ago, I took a walk in the forest and made a choice to lean in hard with each friendship. When the blow came a few weeks ago it wiped me out. I heaved and sobbed in a way that showed me something very clearly, I love these people more than I thought! Yes I miss them more than I can fathom, but the consequence of letting myself get hurt in a heartfelt way has solidified each relationship like never before. And that is something to be truly thankful for.