Monday, December 31, 2007

Parting is such sweet sorrow

On Friday night I was in America and you were in Spain. Two young lovers were married late that afternoon and I was thinking of you.

Later that evening, I was awake, thinking of you, asleep. The celebrating mass was dancing, fast and slow, together, smiling, but I only sat, thinking how I would like to take your hand, smell your neck and hair, and kiss your lips, swaying to the music.

I left the reception hall and got into the cold car, a backseat passenger, lonely.

On the ride home, a friend of ours offered me the use of her car the next day. I told our friend that her offer was most welcome because then we just might have the chance to visit someone we'd like to see.

Then our friend said, "I noticed you just said 'we', as if Heather were here with you. When my mom died, it took a while for my dad to stop referring to himself as 'we'. He was always so used to her company that he just got in the habit of saying 'we', even when she was no longer with him."

Saying "we" is one habit I am (and always will be) loathe to break, for when I am away from you I feel less alive.

I often cry in airports, but strangely enough, it’s usually at “hello” instead of “goodbye”. I love waiting in the arrivals area and watching people reunite. I tear up just as much watching other people as when my own hello arrives.

In Madrid, I often see South Americans reunited with the kids they left back at home with family until they could afford to bring them. There is nothing that tugs at my heartstrings as much as watching the faces of those weary kids as they are enveloped in their Mom’s hug. The relief is tangible.

I love “hellos” with my kids. Just this morning I watched them run pell-mell down the concourse as soon as they got their Dad in their sights. They practically knocked him over, and you could hear Nic’s exuberance from a mile away. Hugging my hubby brought balance back into my world.

I remember arriving back in Colorado Springs after spending 3 months in Lisbon for our internship beginning our service with Christian Associates. Meg was just over a year old, and she was asleep against my shoulder. When my friend Lucy hugged me, there was something in that moment that made me tear up.

I think the sweetness that comes with parting is anticipating the reunion. It’s never really guaranteed, but it’s worth the wait! And the shorter the absence, the better.

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