Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

Three days ago, as I sat in the plane that was to take me home, I felt the overwhelming sense of anxiety that I experience every year.

This anxiety is not a result of a fear of flying.

Instead, it is produced upon realizing that my vacation is over and that I am being returned to reality.

The Son, ever kind and considerate, squeezes my hand as the plane takes off.

I smile as I am reminded of the many times he’s done this in the past.

He smiles back and prods, “Alright. Go ahead. It’s time.”

I look out the plane’s small window nostalgically before reciting my ritualistic goodbye.

“Goodbye Mediterranean Sea. Goodbye churros, cafe cortado, and paella. Adios sunny skies, sandy beach, and Gazpacho. Hasta luego Serrano ham, tapas, and vino. I will miss you Manchego cheese, chorizo, horchatas. Till we meet again, madre, familia, vecinos.”

Before I am finished, I feel the tears rolling down my face.

It almost hurts to see the fading landscape as the plane continues to rise.

Goodbye–such a difficult word to say.

And yet it is a word that we utter daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

You’d think it would get easier to say it but alas, such is not the case.

The emotions that lie in its two syllables are difficult to process.

I realize that this isn’t true for everyone but in my case, “goodbye” is one of the hardest words to say.

As I peer out the window once more, I realize that only a white mist is visible.

It seems incredible that just a few hours ago I was embracing my mother, whispering the word goodbye in her ear.

I can still hear her say, “Goodbye has too much finality to it. Instead, let’s say, ‘hasta pronto’.”
Until we meet again.

Yes, she is right.

Hasta pronto harbors hope and expectation.

Hasta pronto seems to promise that we shall meet again soon.

Hasta pronto allows us to believe that soon we shall toast over a glass of vino, fight over the last serving of paella, or laugh at the brave men walking on the beach in Speedos.

Hasta pronto.

The melodic notes of these two words bring warmth to my aching heart; like a lullaby, they soothe my anxious state.

Hasta pronto.

I lean back in my chair and close my eyes.

I hear the sound of the sea as it crashes against the rocks.

I feel the warmth of the sun as it caresses my skin.

I taste the salt in the air.

And suddenly, the promise of “hasta pronto” has lulled me to sleep.

Hasta pronto, lazy days on the beach.
Hasta pronto, sweet Olivia!
Hasta pronto, cafe cortado!
Does anyone else think, “Where’s Waldo?” when you look at this photo?

Do you find it hard to say goodbye?

64 thoughts on “Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

  1. I hate saying good bye. I love learning “hasta pronto” and will use that from now on! I hated saying good bye to my dad then 4 years later, my mom, but at least I know I actually have “hasta pronto” in my future with them! Excellent post – I hate saying good bye on vacations, too, going back to reality.

    1. Nan, you and I both, love. Thank goodness for the promise of tomorrow! I’m delighted you liked the post, my friend! I have missed you! :)

  2. I don’t see it as a finality, either. It’s temporary and this has helped me not feel the loss so deeply. Connection is everywhere, I feel it. So long, see you later! We will always be back together, if fact, we never really leave each other. <3 allow yourself to feel it all and give yourself a hug from me!

    1. Connection is everywhere, Jodi! Your uplifting words always give me a boost–always! And I have given myself a hug–from you! hee hee! :)

  3. Parting is such sweet sorrow…(i didn’t make that up). So happy your love is such that you do not wish to leave it ;)

    BTW, how the heck long was that vacation anyway…it’s felt like an eternity since you left…you were missed.

    1. Patrice, my “mini” vacation was six and a half weeks but it seriously feels like I was gone for months! I’ve been back for a week now, more or less, and it feels like I’m still in Spain. I’m crossing my fingers my tan will stay with me a bit longer. I’m happy to see your comment, lady! :)

    2. I hope you’re being sarcastic about calling a 6.5 week getaway a mini vacation…but something tells me you are not ;). Lady, that tan better last until your next adventure.

    3. Patrice, I’m afraid I’m not being sarcastic about the “mini vacation.” She hangs her head in shame. To me, anything under three months is always mini, my friend! hee hee! Please, oh please, I pray you’re right about this tanning lasting me that long! I hate looking sallow! :)

  4. Ah, Bella. I feel your pain. It would be hard for me to say goodbye to those lovely things, too (especially mia madre and cafe cortado). I hope when the snow flies this winter you can close your eyes and travel back… All beautiful photos. Maybe we can play “Where’s Bella?” with that last photo? (I think I see you under a pink umbrella sipping sangria and chatting with Javier Bardem.)

    1. Jann, your comment had me chuckling! Don’t I wish it were me under the pink umbrella, sipping sangria with my beloved Javier! I’m still trying to get over the disappointment of not having spotted him, you know. Sigh. Maybe next year! So happy you like the photos! :)

  5. “Hasta pronto” will definitely be a new part of my vocabulary! Another important one? If someone says “I love you” never respond, “I love you too” simply say “I love you.” The “too” makes it an after-thought. You don’t just say it as a response, you say it because you mean it. Excellent post, thank you!

    1. Hippie, I love the idea of simply saying, “I love you” without the too. I have to admit that I never thought how adding the “too” makes it sound like an after thought, but you’re right. It does! I’m so happy you liked the post! :)

  6. In Ojibway there is no word for ‘goodbye.’ Friends say: “See you later.” I like this concept of a temporary parting rather than the finality of goodbye. Great photo’s Bella!

    1. Elizabeth, I like it that Ojibway doesn’t have a word for goodbye! This allows for a more thought to be given to how we part from our loved ones, no matter how short. I’m so pleased you like the photos! Thank you, friend! :)

  7. Our family always uses “See you soon!” as our ‘goodbye’. (It’s sweet. That’s one of the first things our grandchildren learn to say, except that their version usually sounds like, SeeSoon!”) It softens the blow just a bit. Leaves us with that tiny piece of hope. Just as your ‘Hasta pronto’ does. thank you for this soft, elegant, beautiful post today. Hasta pronto to your sunny adventures. And welcome home.

    1. Diane, thank you for your loving welcome! I know I can always count on you to lift my spirits no matter what! I love that your grandchildren say “See soon!” That had me chuckling! Here’s to keeping hope alive, my friend! :)

  8. I had an aunt who hated the word goodbye and would insist on “So Long” (or something along those lines). As a kid I would laugh at her and tease … but yes oh yes! I sure do understand her now!!! I HATE GOODBYE! Do you know how much I hate it??? My common-wall apt neighbor here told me he was moving – but only to another building in the same complex, mind you – and – I burst into tears ;- He felt AWFUL, the poor thing!

    1. Jeannee, you had me smiling at the visual of your neighbor as you burst into tears! Poor guy! I like your aunt’s philosophy. It makes sense! :)

  9. Oh, Bella… The last time I felt that way about leaving a place was back in December when I visited my father for a couple too-short days. I couldn’t say “goodbye” then, and your post made me realize I rarely say “goodbye.” It’s far more likely I’ll say “take care” or “loveyoubye,” the latter allowing me to slip in the requisite goodbye without actually saying it. Not really. Hasta pronto… I like that much better than goodbye. xoxo

    1. Ellen, isn’t it funny how it’s not till we dwell on these situations that we realize how we react depending on the circumstance? I know that through the years I have always thought back to how each goodbye was with my family. I still remember the last time I saw my father before he passed away and it still breaks my heart. Nevertheless, it’s the sweet memories that carry us through difficult times, as well as those difficult goodbyes! Hugs and kisses for you! :)

  10. Goodbye is only hard when you leave a place where your heart dwells….and the courage to live with your heart, dear, dear Bella…is what a rich and beautiful life is all about. I am holding your hand and reminding you that its all beautiful, dear soul…its all a part of your one wild and magical life. Thank you for being as open and vulnerable and heart-centered as you are…and for sharing yourSelf with all of us. Besitos, amiga:)

    1. Brynne, I feel your love across the miles, amiga! Thank you for holding my hand and reminding me that the magic never ends. Sending many hugs and kisses your way, lady! :)

  11. This is beautiful, Bella! I do hate good-byes. They seem so final, even when we hope they’re not. I love your “hasta pronto” replacement. It’s full of hope and expectation! And your photos are gorgeous — such a beautiful place for a vacation, it’s no wonder you’re “homesick” for it!

    1. Rimly, you’re back! I have missed you! How are you? I’m so happy to see you again, dear friend. I shall certainly not say goodbye to you, but instead, a sweet hasta pronto! I shall drop by your place to see what you’re up to! :)

  12. the word “goodbye” always makes me sad. for me, it puts a period — an end — to everything. “until we meet again” — i like this phrase so much better. it gives hope and it adds two more dots to the period, meaning it doesn’t end there. “Hasta pronto”! lovely photos, bella! <3 :-)

    1. Until we meet again is such a lovely phrase, isn’t it, Irene? I love how it remains open and embraces the near future. I’m so happy you like the photos, lady! Thank you for your sweet words! :)

  13. Hi Bella. I admit, I do sometimes find it hard to say goodbye. Waving to family or friends, taking that last long look, picking the chair up from the beach knowing it is headed for the car instead of the porch. I think you must be a little like me in that we are maleable to our surroundings and adapt with excitement. I love your pictures, even the beauty of the layered beverage. Maybe I should learn the ‘hasta pronto’ analogy as well.

    1. Hello Renee! I believe we are indeed “malleable to our surroundings,” my friend. As I read your comment, I was able to visualize the examples you gave. I can see you carrying the chair to the car and wistfully looking back at the beach! I’m tickled pink you like the photos! Thank you! :)

  14. Such a beautiful Piece Bella.. I am saying goodbye to some really precious things right now, both material and emotional.. perfect timing to read your gorgeous interpretation of summers end so to speak. I did not need the pictures for your words sit like photographs…

    1. Angel, your words make my heart sing! Thank you, sweet lady! I trust you are nurturing your soul as you continue to say goodbye to both the material and emotional things in your life. Something tells me this time is going to make for beautiful poetry! :)

  15. A goodbye is a chalk mark drawn across the road of life.

    At first, is sharp and distinct, and then over time softens, becomes broken, and then fades completely. But it stays with you in your mind, where it takes on a different meaning, that of a memory.

    I find goodbyes terribly difficult and I do what you do – cry. I find it terribly difficult to get back home and face the reality of me and my life. But it is the reasons for which we cry that are important. In your case, it is hard to leave family and places. That you cry means they are important to you; you are not escaping, but sad to be leaving them behind.

    But you will go again. And you can know that and find some peace in that.

    PS. By now you may have adjusted; I’ve been negligent in computer and blogging duties. Summer has a way of inserting itself 8)

    1. Eloise, I can always count on you to provide an insightful explanation to life’s circumstances. You are such a sage, my friend, and I admire you greatly! Thank you for the beautiful interpretation. It has made me ponder and think that last goodbye. And it’s also reminded me that I will go again and that makes me smile! :)

    1. Ivana, I love the word “ciao.” Like you mention, it’s open to so many interpretations and none of them make me feel sad! :)

    2. You know what I think of when I see “Ciao” ??? In the mid-80s, I worked as a typist in an insurance company. There was a pecking order to the work : for example, the file clerks were considered bottom of the barrel. And then there was Maryann! She dressed like something out of a fashion magazine, with makeup that looked like it was applied in a salon! She delivered files in HIGH heels! Here comes Maryann – with her hair so rolled up tight, you would think she still had the rollers in , and the perfume, and the long clicky nails – and as she would leave the department she was delivering files to – “Ciao, baby!”

    3. Jeannee, after reading your description of Maryann, I think “Ciao, baby” was a perfect signature phrase! Oh, to have such style and sophistication! :)

  16. Bella, I hate goodbyes. I have been absent this summer from blogging, taking a break from the computer pretty much, and only this week started posting again, kind of reintroducing myself to the community. So I think it’s the perfect time to say hello. xoxo

    1. Heidi, that means we’re both in the same boat! Great! I don’t know about you but the time off did allow me to focus on other things–namely sleeping and eating! I don’t know if that was a good thing! hee hee! I’m glad you’re back, lady! Thank you for dropping in to say hello! :)

  17. Ah, so you and Monica were in Spain at the same time. Yes, it would have been fun for you to connect over there. What a fabulous place to vacation. You’re right about “good-bye.” It has such finality to it. Thanks for teaching me a new term. Hasta pronto!

    1. Jayne, it was a shame that Monica and I couldn’t connect but I’ve got a plan to try to convince her to visit Spain again in the near future! ha! I hope you’ll use “Hasta pronto” the next time you have to say goodbye! :)

  18. Thank you for stopping by my blog so I could find yours! Yes, it’s very difficult for me to say goodbye. I’ve had two that became final when I didn’t know they would … so, to Husband and daughter, I always say “see you later.” They repeat “Goodbye” to try to end the phone call or walk out the door … and, again, I say “see you later.” I will be adding hasta pronto to my vocabulary.

    1. Hello Terri! I read your comment and thought about the time I last saw my father. I had spent eleven wonderful months helping my mother to take care of him but the time had come for me to return home. I remember saying, goodbye, daddy, and he replied, “See you later, alligator.” To this day, I wish I had said something other than goodbye. This summer, I’m grateful my mother pointed out the finality of the word goodbye. Hasta pronto is now my phrase of choice when I have to leave my loved ones. I’m glad you’re adding it to your vocabulary! :)

  19. I hate good byes, especially good byes to vacations. Vacation times speeds by in a blur while our day to day lives seem to crawl at times. The summer especially seems to fly by. I am never ready to say good bye to summer and cringe when I see the first leaves turning colour. …

    1. Kristine, no truer words have been spoken. I felt like my summer went by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been back for a week and it feels like I’ve been here for a month. Time seems to drag by when you’re not sipping coffee in front of the beach, you know? :)

  20. I hate hate saying goodbye ! i am ok if i go on vacation in some random place in the caribbean but if I go see family I always end up crying maybe because I am a cry baby !

    1. Hi Ciaa! I have to confess that I too am a “cry baby” when it comes time to say goodbye to my family. I think that the fact that I know it will be another year before I see them again has something to do with it. Vacations without family? Yeah, I cry to–when I’m leaving whatever paradise that might be! hee hee! :)

  21. Bella, I’m so relieved I’m not the only one breaking down in tears when boarding a plane home. I cry like a little baby when I have to leave a place where I enjoyed being. I think I get far too attached to foreign places faaaaar too easily. ;)

    1. Oh Sabrina, you and I both! I think this say of us that we love the exotic! hee hee! But seriously, it is hard to live a place that’s provided you with so many good memories, isn’t it? I’m so happy to see you drop by, lady! :)

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