Goodbye is just as important as hello

In Friendships, Keeping in touch, Preparation & Planning by Carole Hallett MobbsLeave a Comment

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The importance of goodbyes

When you move overseas an important part of your journey is going to be the “goodbye”. How do you say goodbye in the right way?  I’ll try and show why goodbyes carry so much meaning in today’s post.

Tell the kids

Goodbyes are important for everyone in the family and not just for you or your partner. If you have children, then make sure they know as much as you can tell them about the move.

Include when and where you’re going, how long you’re going for, what kind of things to expect in their new life (and school) and what day they’re leaving their current school etc. Throw a goodbye party just for them and their friends and ask them to get creative (painting, drawing, dancing – anything focused on the new country) so there is an element of group excitement about going, rather than sadness at leaving their friends behind. Work out ways they can keep in touch with their friends.

Throw a party

Talking of parties, it’s also great idea to hold a party to say goodbye – not just for the kids – but for you. Hosting a goodbye party is an acknowledgement (however bittersweet) that you are leaving your family and friends’ lives. I don’t think we can ever underestimate the sheer significance of a goodbye – either the words, the hug or ritualistic marking of a moment.

We need this full stop in order to punctuate the old life and create space for the new.

Wave you off at the airport

I knew a friend who was leaving for Costa Rica and, out of the blue, her closest friends arrived at the airport to wave her off. Just like the significance of a goodbye party, it’s equally as important to have people wave you off. Perhaps it’s not at the airport, but as you leave your street, or your house. But the fact is, there is a symbolism behind the process of a goodbye. It energetically closes one door and allows the new one to open.

It’s OK to be sad

Goodbyes are heartrending moments. So don’t beat yourself up for getting emotional and shedding a few tears. But also don’t make the mistake of assuming that your tears mean all this ‘moving business’ is a mistake.

Moving overseas is unsettling. So goodbyes are acknowledging this sadness, whilst not clinging to the old.  Try to embrace the new however muddled you feel over all of this is. Be reassured that even the most seasoned of expats allows themselves to get upset over goodbyes. It’s only human. Feeling upset is part of the process of letting go.

Leave stuff behind

I once saw an example where a family who were moving overseas put a whole ton of stuff on Freecycle (an internet site in the UK for getting rid of your house possessions). However, when a whole bunch of strangers trailed in and out of their house taking their possessions the kids were unsettled and even the adults were emotional. So maybe it’s better to offload your possessions to family and friends when you move. I always feel this is better because this way they have something to remember you by whether it’s something little (a trinket box) or something large (a trampoline!).

The other thing to consider is people like to be needed. So if they can be involved in helping or storing stuff that is always a good idea too. When I moved abroad I placed many of my favourite photos into a box and my friend stored it for me. I didn’t ask her to store a whole ton of stuff – just personal things which were significant to me – it was just one box and it was a clear sign that I was entrusting her with something really valuable. On a deeper level, it also signified that I was going to be staying in her life and wasn’t going to disappear just because I was moving overseas.

See you later

When is a goodbye not a goodbye? When it’s a “see you a later”! It helps to see goodbyes as temporary moments in time and the language we use can help us with this. Use phrases like “see you later” or “see you soon” rather than the permanent sounding “goodbye”.

Taking off

Moving overseas is a big unknown. As I’ve mentioned, elements of doubt might start creeping in the closer it gets. You start to feel the fear. In this case, saying goodbye might sound like a trivial thing but actually it’s an important part of your journey and helps put this full stop to one chapter of your life.

Saying goodbye enables you to close the door and start thinking forward.

As soon as you get on that plane, feel the weight sink off your shoulders. Tune into your adrenaline. Focus on the positive and say goodbye to your country as you leave it behind for pastures new.

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I’ll miss you
Until we meet again!
~ Author Unknown

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