I am going to sidestep the worst of the goodbyes, the death of loved ones. We have had too many of those over the past few years and we have a few to go. The saddest of all is the saying goodbye our good friends had to do at Arlington this past week for their son, a decorated Green Beret, a fine young man, an artist. He died in Afghanistan.
No, I'd rather look at simpler, more manageable goodbyes, for I have found them painful nonetheless. Leaving Kansas to move to California was brutal. It gives me an appreciation of my ancestors coming across the Great Pond to start a new life in America. It is a story that continues today for so many here. And it is HARD! To leave what you have known, who you have known, your family, your friends, your entire support system. It is like a tender plant being uprooted from its birth place and transplanted to another soil, a move that may or may not take. Many have tried to migrate and have failed the transplant and I have experienced why. Many are the nights you feel bereft, the days you feel lost.
But, that obviously is not the entire story, else I would be back in Kansas. I am here because first there were new friends that I bonded with and the pain and loneliness lessened with shared experience. More importantly, I met my mate! Suddenly, my roots were to the center of the Earth.
There was another side to this situation. My parents had to say goodbye to me. Not goodbye, I'd never call again. Not goodbye, that I had turned by back. Not goodbye that they could not visit. No, the goodbye that says, "Our boy is half a continent away and we won't see him often, like we always have."
Migration is a painful and selfish move. It is like creativity, for it requires denial of what is because what can be must be sought. It is driven by something inside an individual. It is a cause unto itself.
I admire the courage of the migrants who have ventured forth over the eons, for if not for the pain they endured, we would be a group of somewhat advanced apes living in Africa, clinging to the known. It's more difficult than we often credit it to be.