Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ways to Say Goodbye

I recently accepted a new job, and I'm excited for the opportunity it represents, but the last two weeks have been hard as I've had to say goodbye to the people at the job I've had for the last eleven years. I guess that earlier this year, I also had another tough goodbye when my black lab died. And, every year, I also end up saying goodbye to my sister as she goes back to Asia after a couple weeks home. Goodbyes are hard and heart-wrenching. They just... ugh. :( But, we've all got to survive them, and I guess there are some things that made them a little better. Here are my thoughts on some things to consider if you're facing a goodbye:

1. Follow the traditions. When I was preparing to leave my job, I didn't think I would send that final goodbye email that has sort of become a tradition in my workplace when someone left. It just seemed like it would be sappy and sad and who would really want to read it anyway? Well, a couple people referenced my final email, and I realized they were expecting it. I sat down, wrote one at home, and writing it out helped me and, I think, them get the closure we needed.

2. Have someone to walk you through the hard parts. When it was taking my dog in for her last surgery, my husband came with me. When it came time to leave work for the last time, one of my coworkers stuck around long enough for those last couple goodbyes and then walked me all the way to my car door, even though it was out of her way. Just having someone with me as I left that last time was so comforting.

3. Allow time to reflect and enjoy. I took more time talking to my coworkers these last few days, just like I took my black lab for some leisurely walks in her last few days. I guess doing this all along - long before it comes time for a goodbye - is key. You don't want to look back and wonder where the time and all your good intentions to enjoy a relationship went. Take time with it every day, and be grateful.

4. Stockpile keepsakes. Before I left my job, I printed off emails that meant a lot to me. You know, the ones about how I made a difference or did a good job. Who knows how often I'll go back to them. Maybe a lot, maybe rarely. But if the going gets rough and I start to doubt who I am and what I'm capable of as I start a new chapter, I have a very positive last chapter to go back to to ground me.

5. Honor other people's need for closure, too. As valuable as it was to have someone to walk out with me at the end of my last shift, I sort of wanted to leave early and get it over with, but I knew that leaving together was important for my coworker. I didn't want to cheat her of her way of saying goodbye. In the end, it was therapeutic for me, too.

6. Accept that you're going to be a bit of a mess as you get through it. You're going to walk around with red eyes. People are going to see you cry. You're going to hug people when you usually have a hard time letting people close. At least, that's how it was for me, and accepting that people were going to see this messy, emotional side of me helped put me more at ease.

7. Most importantly, draw close to God. Have faith that he is guiding you now and that he is the one goodbye that'll never have to happen; you can always have that personal relationship with him through Jesus Christ - both now and into eternity. Praise God.

How do you say goodbye?

Your Sister

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