How to Say Goodbye

Summer is leaving. I know according to the calendar we have a month yet, but summer as summer is waving goodbye. How do I know? As I sit on the porch, the katydids sing their “Summer Is Leaving” song. Inside our house, two school-teachers reside- one my sister and one a friend- and they know summer is going, too. The last days of summer might slide by yet on golden wings, but the golden rod is blooming, corn is being harvested, and summer is slipping away.

I’ve always hated goodbyes. I’ve hated change. I love summer, with its carefree moments of warmth and camaraderie. Ever since I was little, autumn made me sad. Because the flowers start to wither, and the leaves start to fall. The golden days disappear, my firefly friends leave, and the days grow short.

This year there is an added goodbye. Maybe this is the real reason summer is gone. Because today we dropped off my sister and brother at the airport. One went back to Texas and one is flying halfway across the world to the far East, where summer will continue while we say hello to winter. Only a few of us are left behind. It was quieter as my mom and I drove home from the airport. We stopped at King of Prussia and consoled ourselves with Asian food and bubble tea.

How do you say goodbye? I don’t know, I’m still trying to learn. When I say goodbye, I always ask myself why I didn’t make more of the time I had… Why didn’t I love a little harder, or laugh a little more, or spend more time basking in the golden days. When winter comes, you wonder if you shouldn’t have spent a little more time picking flowers and wading in the creek. You ask yourself why you spent so much time distracted, instead of spending quality moments with your family…

Two years and a couple days ago we said goodbye to my dad. It feels like just the couple days, though. Where did the past two years go? I’m still trying to say goodbye, still trying to reconcile the times we had and the times we will not have. I don’t like change. Change is sad.

Whether I like it or not, though, fall is coming. The basic white girls will wear their cardigans and drink their pumpkin spice lattes. I will breathe in the crisp air and thank the Lord for fields of golden rod. Maybe I will even buy a pumpkin spice latte.

Fall is coming. Change is in the air. I said goodbye to my wonderful sister, who has put up with me in my worst moments. I said goodbye to my brother, who argues with me like no one else ever dares. I said hello to a friend who is stepping into our home and our lives, while she teaches at our church school. Next week I head back to school, too, with four new classes to conquer.

Maybe the only way to say goodbye is to say hello… Hello, new world! Hello, world of missing people, and loving those who are here, and talking on WhatsApp to some who aren’t. Hello, world of blue fall skies and colorful leaves. Hello, frosty mornings. Maybe saying goodbye is to say thank you. Thank you for the days in swimming pools. Thank you for beach trips and woodland hikes and moments with family and friends. Thank you for the time we had.

I wrote in my journal when I was nineteen that I asked my family why life is so full of goodbyes. I recorded my dad’s answer- “That’s how life is so we need to make the most of the time we have.” So, hello, fall… Summer was good, but I want to make the most of these moments today. While the katydids sing, I listen. Soon they will be gone, and I will rejoice in the first snowflakes. As Amy Carmichael said, “…in acceptance, lieth peace…”

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. You’re one of the good things still in my life! Keep writing – I love you!

    1. Aww thank you, Mom! I love you too! ❤️

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