I have officially cried my first tears about leaving Santa Cruz. At our staff meeting today we went around saying our prayer requests and at the mere mention of them I stood up to get a napkin [Starbucks napkins really are not the softest out there]. A big lump made its way up my throat and my vision was blurry from tears. I had everyone else go first just so I could get to a place where I could speak in something that more than dogs could hear because when I cry my voice shoots up about four octaves. I took a deep breath, and for a moment I thought I'd get through my prayer requests without crying.
Leaving my family in the Pacific Northwest two and a half years ago was so much different. It was a little sad, but it was mostly exciting. Yay, Haley's leaving for a California adventure! It was the summer that Hawk Nelson's "Letters To the President" came out and their song "California" was on a constant rotation in my head and on my CD player. It was my celebratory anthem. Pack up and move to California? What a great idea, I'll see you guys there.
Leaving my family here is disparate. I have no frame of reference for leaving people I am not related to but still call family. I am not guaranteed Christmas or birthday celebrations with them once I leave this place. I, of course, intend to return, to visit, to keep in contact, but there are no assurances that these things will happen.
So I begin to mourn the loss of their constant presence. I begin to mourn the ability to call up friends for a spur of the moment cup of coffee, early morning run, late night cliffside chat, afternoon movie, meandering stroll, chaparral hike. Favorite coffee shops, restaurants, running routes, benches will be remembered rather than visited.
How do I say goodbye to my family?
How do I say goodbye to these places?