It hurts watching someone leave. It’s even worse when you don’t know where they’ve gone, why they’re leaving, and when or if they’ll be back. As children, we watched our parents disappear behind us as the school bus rounded the corner of the familiar street where we lived to deliver us to the big, unfamiliar building with endless corridors, towering teachers, and upperclassmen. But we learned that, at the end of the day, those familiar faces we so desperately longed for in the early morning hours of stomach flips and quivering lips returned for us. And things were, ultimately, going to be ok, because each day after that first one would follow a similar routine that we would learn to respect and anticipate with the same certainty as our mealtimes (when we can).
Adulthood is much the same. We adjust to our schedules as needed, waking up each morning to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen and rushing into work to attend meetings, return e-mails and voicemails, and, at least once a week, attempt to figure out why the Xerox machine isn’t working properly. Each day after that first one would follow a similar routine that we would learn to respect and anticipate with the same certainty as our mealtimes (when we can).
By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have already learned that there are circumstances in which the familiar faces we come to know, trust, and love, leave us with no plans to return. Sometimes we are given a reason, or are able to piece together a reason given the circumstances of that person’s departure. Other times, we are left stumped, with a befuddled look on our face and a giant question mark over our head. We wonder what we said and did, or didn’t say and didn’t do to inadvertently lose our connection with a person. The pain churns our insides, haunts our dreams, and exhausts us to the point that it is difficult to enjoy the company of others who are still with us.
Ultimately, we have to let…yes, let go. Let go of it all. We have to acknowledge the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the confusion for what the loss of a connection with a particular individual is in our lives, and then we have to move forward with our own agenda. Our lives are too short to speculate and chase those who are not interested in us. So kiss them on the cheek and wish them well. Then let them go.