Parting: the Art of “See You Later”

I refuse to say “goodbye” these days, but I’m parting with loved ones for longer periods of time than ever before. It’s really hard.

I’ve got it down to a set of organized actions right now: I meet the one I’m parting with, we catch up and enjoy each other’s company, I feel the tug of my future pulling me away, we hug, I tear up, we part, I say “see you later,” and I cry.

Now that I know when I’ll leave (in one week), I’ve parted with several family members, dear friends, my dog, and many cherished possessions. (I’m still waiting for papers.) It’s “see you later” now, but I pray life will give me the later time I seek to share with these loved ones. The emotional currency of “see you later” is a little less than “goodbye,” though, so it’s less pain now for potential that might not be realized. I know that each time I say it. The reality is that sometimes when I say “see you later” it might actually be “goodbye.”

That tears me apart when I consider it. So I keep my vision shortsighted at the moment, allowing my mind to wander only to a future where everyone and everything is still in it. It’s foolish, perhaps, but it’s keeping me sane and limiting my tears. It’s letting me live.

It’s beautiful, in a way, even if it’s only by misleading myself that the beauty of a life where everyone and everything I love exists in tandem with the life I’m living and going to live. This is the art.




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