browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Saying Goodbye – Final Farewells

Posted by on March 27, 2015

From a distance I could see the tears welling up in her eyes, and as they began to roll down her cheeks he leant closer and stroked her hair, whispering softly, “I love you, mum. Be strong. Remember, it’s not a final goodbye, goodbye. I will miss you, but have a wonderful time.”

As mother and son listened for the final call over the airport loud speaker, I heard her say, “I love you too” and then she was gone – her first journey as a solo traveller. It’s a scenario which happens every day around the world, saying goodbye to loved ones as they set out on journeys.

Airports are emotionally charged places, just like hospitals with departures and arrivals; sadness and joy. Emotions can run the whole spectrum: people weeping as someone leaves, people jumping for joy when someone arrives. Travelers bleary eyed because of boredom and jet lag. Old ladies and newbies wringing their hands worried if they have the correct gate. Airports are great places for people watching and I often think back to the times when my family would turn up at the airport to see me off. On my first trip to Asia, my mother, who was very emotional, cried and said I would have my kidney stolen by a ‘foreign’ person and she would never see me again. My ‘then’ boyfriend was convinced I would meet a handsome young man and never come back. (Note, I did meet a handsome young American man and dumped the old boyfriend on my return.) I was on an emotional roller coaster until I landed in a new city, country and continent to begin my vacation which I had scrimped and saved for. Saying goodbye as you depart for a much anticipated holiday should not be attached to someone else’s insecurity!

Times have changed where international travel is more accessible to a larger slice of the population and, like dressing up for the occasion, the big family send off at the airport is not so important. Now with age and experience, I do things a little more differently when departing for a vacation.

I am now one of those people who would rather arrive at the airport three hours early, grab a chai latte and relax, knowing I only have to wait until my flight is called without worrying about my family taking time off work (and the cost of airport parking) to put me safely on the plane. I also can do without the emotional manipulation. That might sound ungrateful, but you see, I hate public goodbyes and farewells. I much prefer to be in the background and slip quietly into the airport and start to prepare myself for the next four weeks of adventure. I also need time to quiet that inner voice of doubt who continually asks if I have ticked everything on that check-list: passport; credit cards; phone; SD cards; batteries; – and are you really sure, the cat was out before you locked the back door? That inner voice needs to understand I am the one in control and it has to “get a life” and leave me alone to get on with my adventure.

I am now one of those people who would rather have a passionate kiss on the curb in the “no waiting zone”, than have a drawn out farewell in the departure lounge, where small chit chat can become exhausting and lead to silly arguments and spats about nothing. Believe me, you don’t want to have a misunderstanding with your better half at the airport, just before boarding a 9 hour QANTAS flight to Bangkok!

Finally, I have also become one of those people who believes you should tell the people you love, how important they are to you whenever possible and not just before the “final call” is made and this doesn’t necessarily refer to saying goodbye before you leave on vacation. If you cannot say “I love you” face to face, then send a text, email or do it the old fashioned way, write a letter. It’s a two way street, you need say it and they need to hear it. Don’t wait until you are giving a eulogy.

“Traveling solo,” means I have to be confident and resilient enough to cope with life’s little twists and turns and the best place for me to start is when I arrive at the airport to begin my journey. Don’t leave the goodbyes and final farewells too late, tell the people who are important to you that they matter and you care and love them.

And by the way, I much prefer to say, “See yah, I love you”, rather than “goodbye”, because just like Peter Pan said, “Goodbye means going away and going away, means forgetting.” and I don’t ever want to forget those important people and wonderful moments in my life.

12 Responses to Saying Goodbye – Final Farewells

  1. Dean Forbes

    Thoughtful and common sense at the same time. Yes, kisses over tears from a significant other any time 🙂

    • Penny

      Thanks Dean for your kind comment – That is such a great line “Kisses, Over Tears” I must remember it for another time.

  2. Bruce

    Very nice article – very nicely put. (and the photo fits nicely as well)

  3. Beth Garton

    What Peter Pan said about goodbyes is what, I realize now, fear the most. Thanks for another enlightening and thought provoking essay. You always nail it!

    • Penny

      Thanks Beth. With the recent air tragedies I am sure there are many families reliving their last goodbyes. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

  4. Amy

    I live far away from all my family and think that having the time alone in the airport to prepare for the flight is so important! You need that headspace 🙂 I love reading your posts and following your journeys. I always say see you soon rather than goodbye.
    Great post – really look forward to the next addition


    • Penny

      Thanks Amy for your comments. I am sure, with two young children you will certainly need some “head space” and “me time” every now and again, when you head off on your family adventure in a few weeks.

  5. Thomas Bancroft

    Nice thoughts. I agree, the regular and sincere “I love you” is more important than the long good byes. I find it hard each time I leave my family but know that they are really always there in the most important place, the heart.

    • Penny

      Lovely words Tom. I made a conscious decision when raising my children that they would hear the words, “I love you” often. Thankfully, with the use of modern technology we are able to communicate easily, so there is no reason why family and friends cannot stay in touch and say and hear these words often.

      • Carol Beman

        The last thing I ever say when I talk to, or leave my son, grandchildren, and family members is ” I love You!” Your words are so poignant and wise my friend. Life is fragile, and when never know when it will end.

        • Penny

          I am sure your son and your grandchildren appreciate those three little words Carol. There will come a time in their lives when they will reflect on your influence as a mother and grandmother and it will make dealing with that time so much more easier for them when they know you loved them unconditionally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *