Military Spouses On Saying “Goodbye”

We can’t help create change without developing a deep appreciation for the psychology of change. An example – Military spouses get more practice saying goodbye (in more ways than one) than most of us can ever dream of. 

Joy Lere Psy.D. captured, beautifully, what it means to say goodbye, what it means to change, and why growth hurts. Read her post, “The Summer of a Thousand Goodbyes.” She’s primarily talking about moving, but the insights run deep. Here’s a quote:

Transitions are not my favorite thing. I’ve been forced to become agile, but I don’t always love it. I find moving hellacious. As I brace for relocation, I tend to go through a grief process that includes sorrow and rage. Each time my address changes, I’m leaving a lot behind. I look at my life in boxes and my heart aches. Still, I’ve come to appreciate that’s a good sign. In graduate school, I remember a supervisor saying, “if the ending hurts, it usually means something went right.” 

Soon I will turn out the lights in my empty home for the last time–a housethat four short and long years ago I carried two car seats into. In this place, my babies grew into children. On moving day, they will walk out our front door on their own power. When we leave, it will hurt. It will hurt because it was so so good. 

Being human is to exist in a world of finite time, vulnerability, risk, and uncertainty. In this milieu, you have to make a choice–play it safe and live small or go all in. I say go big, on purpose, with intention. It might hurt, but it will be a different kidn of hard. Loneliness and living a life haunted by “wat if” are tall prices to pay for self-protection. I’ll choose the pain of loss and a life of love every time. 

All we have is now. Take nothing for granted and make it count. Build a life that would make goodbye hurt and leaving hard. 

Not everybody is up for the task. Not everybody will lean into the hurts. If we want to create change, we need to constantly deepen our understanding and our experiences on what it feels like to actually do it.