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I hate saying goodbyes.  I try to avoid them, but I don’t seem to be very good at it.  Saying goodbye always seems to bring back some of those times when the goodbye has been difficult.  Sometimes it’s due to loss, sometime anger, sometimes sadness. Rarely have goodbyes made me happy, except for instance, when some jerk you have been working with gets fired or leaves. But that is really a good riddance, not a  goodbye.

So lately, I’ve been thinking about goodbyes.

I remember saying goodbye to my mother and my grandmother.  Well, not so much goodbye, but saying goodnight and going home, knowing full well that it would be the last time I would do so. The impending death is a hard goodbye to make, but at least one I have learned from. Some goodbyes are not worth avoiding.  This is one of them.

I remember the last day I worked at IRDC  (now named MPI in Mattawan, MI). I remember going through the security gate the last time, knowing I would never return.  It was a crappy place to work and yet it was the best place too.  I have yet to experience the same comradery that existed with the people I knew there – we were all of a certain age and education and definite cohorts in bondage. I cried a bit when I went through that gate. I said goodbye to part of my life so I could start on another part. The uncertainty goodbye  (am-I-doing-the-right-thing?) is a hard goodbye to make, too.

When I was five, my best friend moved away. Not very far, but far enough to make a big difference. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if she hadn’t moved. Perhaps this was the beginning of my distaste for goodbyes. The you-are-moving-and-disrupting-my-life-too-much goodbye is a hard goodbye on a five year old.

Now I’m finding this goodbye isn’t so easy on at fifty-seven year old either. There are times when strangers come into your life at the right time or the right place and make a surprising difference. This is true of Gillie, who I knew first by reading her blog and second as she joined my EGA chapter.  Now she is gone off across “the pond”, not even a year later.  I will miss her British idioms, her gentle accent, and her conspirational smile. So goodbye Gille.  We did hardly know you, but a goodbye isn’t painful unless you’re never going to say hello again.

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