Goodbye, Chunks of My Soul

Some friends recently visited me, and now I almost wish they hadn’t.


It’s still a shiny, new thing for me to host people in my home and city. A couple folks visited me back when I lived in California, mostly my immediate family. But nothing compares to these last 8 months in Asheville. I’ve had family visit me. Camp friends. Fellow bloggers and readers-turned-real life friends.

The east coast has been kinder to me, more accessible for visitors. It’s a joy — having guests.

It is also a bittersweet thing, having visitors. Because by definition, visitors do not stay forever.

Time and time again, I’ve been blessed by this supernatural crossing of paths for a single moment in time. But when I visited folks on my road trip, I rarely wanted to stay longer than a night or two. I didn’t want to “overstay my welcome,” and I had plenty of people/places to see, after all.

It was exciting to see what lay around the next bend as I packed up for the next willing host. Often, I saw sadness etched on the faces of those I left behind.

Now, I get what my more favorite hosts (hopefully) felt as I left: there’s no such thing as overstaying.

So far as a host, I’ve not had a single visiting friend or family member or couchsurfer who I wish couldn’t stay a day or two or forever longer. I’ve experienced joy in offering up my bed or cooking a bountiful breakfast (complete with oven-baked muffins) and otherwise wandering the majesty of the Blue Ridge with them.

But how wretched the goodbyes.

It was so much easier to be the one hopping into Mitsy and hitting the road once more. Standing on the doorstep, however, waving at the car leaving my home is an altogether searing sort of experience: like a distinct piece of you has been sheared and now leaves with the departed.

Since my big road trip ended early last year, I’ve had a lot of time to consider my ideal life. I realize it’s a healthy combination of the two cries of my heart: spontaneity and stability.

I want the ability to travel and visit loved ones as I please, and I want the ability to come back to a place abounding with love.

In essence, I want the goodbyes to shrink, even disappearing entirely amid the constant flow of connection. I want to be around the ones I love perpetually, either in the home I live or the places I wander.

In the immortal words of O-Town:

I want it all or nothing at all.

It’s been devastating waving goodbye to my loved ones, time after time. Indeed, my most recent batch of friends took several chunks of my soul with them that fateful evening.

But I have hope we’ll reunite one day soon.

And that all the goodbyes go away.

Are goodbyes hard for you? How do you deal with the aftermath of parting loved ones?

  • Perhaps it is the love of peace and quiet, but I normally find myself rather happy when it’s time to say farewell to visitors… I suppose that’s partly because my wife, who is my best friend, doesn’t leave. If I was by myself, my feelings would likely be different!

    The nice thing about goodbyes is they are a decidedly Earthly thing. Only here for the now, as after this life is over there are only hellos and never goodbyes. 🙂

    Happy to see a new update on the blog round here!