When Someone Leaves

by MW Cook

I’ve never been that good at saying goodbye. I tend to watch those people who get all tearful in airports and wonder what it’d be like to feel that way. It’s not that I’m stone-cold or anything. I just feel the leaving of loved-ones in a different way, I guess.

When we’re at the airport, I’m still with them. As they walk away, I can still see them. When I get back into my car, I can trick myself into thinking I just dropped them off at work. Even the next day I can imagine they are still living in my house. Maybe they stepped out to get milk or take my kid to school, like they always were willing to do.

The loss grows over time. I’ve heard about amputees getting a ‘phantom limb’ sensation. It feels like it’s still there, until you try to grab something with it.

Ruth and I woke up pretty late Sunday morning. The kids were already up. I felt the first bit of phantomness. Jodi’s door was open and her room was dark, cold and empty. No one was making tea. I looked at the kettle for a bit before making the pot myself. I could not remember the last time I made my own pot of morning tea. It was weird.

Sunday was a busy day. Lots of moving. Lots of noise and activity. But it felt so quiet. Despite the fact that my house was filled with all the beautiful people I live with, there was something missing. I guess that’s what happens when you say goodbye to someone you love that’s been living with you for … almost two years? Wow. Doesn’t seem that long…

I’m not good at saying goodbye. But I’m good at being with people. I guess that’s what counts. Just like a man’s last words don’t matter nearly as much as all the words and deeds that came before them.

I found a message on my phone late last night. It was from Jodi. She’s home she says. That made me pause. Of course she’s home. Abu Dhabi is her home now, right? Right. It is. It’s where she lives.

But home is also where the heart is. So her real home’s in her chest. Te he.

But home is also where the heart is. So her real home will always be with me and Ruth and all those other people who love her. Welcome home, Jodi. We’ll see you again soon.