Hope you’re all having a great 4th of July holiday. Before anything else, I’d like to THANK YOU, dear readers for all your love and support during the release of My Goodbye Girl last June 6th. This book managed to keep its #1 New Release flag for a whole month, and I am beyond (surprised) and grateful for the reviews we’ve received so far. There’s nothing like writing about pieces of yourself and having readers find you totally annoying. I guess I should listen to what my family has been trying to tell me for years!
Now, back to this post.
Here I sit, all alone as I write this. I’m trying to get the words out as much as I have been for months on end. Somehow, they’re all in my head. I can’t seem to get them out on paper. I know it’s because my life has been changing drastically for the last eighteen months. So many things. So many thoughts. So many changes – some voluntary and some that can’t be helped.
Today feels different.
Well, for one, it’s the 4th of July holiday. My family is nowhere near me.
My youngest, the one who was severely affected by isolation during Covid, felt he was ready to move on his own and left for Colorado the other day. He had help from his dad, of course. Renting a 10-footer with a hitch so they could do the seventeen-hour drive together. My daughter who just went through a horrible breakup after six years of putting her life on pause, felt ready too! She left this morning, make up bag, full home office, a million shoes and all. She asked if she could leave her Cricut here with me and forgot to pack her leather jacket. Priorities.
And my oldest? He’s busy in the ER, working through the holiday, fixing fireworks injuries, if not saving lives. He’s engaged but won’t set a date because setting one stresses him out. Fair enough.
I feel my losses so much today. The ones that are for the good of others and for myself, I guess. The letting go that has to happen for the children to experience life on their own. And the ones that I have always known were better for me. Hard to accept sometimes – those friendships that aren’t real. The ones that are impossible to keep. The respect you’ve lost for people due to their actions. The children that aren’t supposed to be held back. The wrong place, wrong time love, because you knew you had the right place right time one already.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two friends who left me recently. Becca, who patiently stayed with me through all my book releases, making use of her art to bring my stories to life through trailers. We used to talk on the phone, each book was a phone call that talked about life in general. And my closest friend, Javier, who left, just like that. We had a call a few days before he left us. He was always joking, and we were always laughing. My mentor, my friend, my good old soul is gone.
Gosh. What a casualty of sorts, all these goodbyes. All these heartaches. They leave you devastated, empty. Lonely. Devoid of joy.
What’s next? When the stresses of life, of work, of writing, of family just seem to keep coming. When the people you thought you could count on are slowly leaving. Who’s left, really?
Just you and me.
Which is why we need to count on each other to be true to ourselves. To interact with those who only bring us joy. To dive in and savor the beauty of life no matter what anyone thinks or says. Life is so brief, so fleeting – we can’t live it in fear or regret. We all make decisions that may not end up being the right ones, but heck, wasn’t it so much fun getting there? Didn’t we grow and learn while making that one crazy movie?
When something no longer works for us, it serves us well to walk away. Be it a job, or people, or a situation. If it no longer brings you joy, if the effort makes you unhappy (for as long as it’s not a job that pays or supports you – because all jobs are difficult and perseverance is key to success – that’s my caveat 😊), let it go. There are so many things in life that are waiting out there. Use your judgement. Be selfish with yourself and your time. Invest in relationships that make you whole. Love shamelessly. Say what you want, do it every minute of every day. Who cares if people think you’re foolish? What’s in your heart is never wrong. What’s in your heart is YOU.
What does that have to do with saying Goodbye, you may ask. Well – if you’ve done your best and given your all, goodbyes will never be filled with regret. That eases the pain a little bit, don’t you think? After all, you’ve made some amazing memories, said all your words, touched one’s life, left your impact. And they have done the same for you, no matter how brief or temporary those moments were. It’s been a hard lesson learned for me, losing my parents in the way that I did. But I know better now. Life is kicking my butt. And I wrote My Goodbye Girl to honor the people who have come and gone in our lives. They’re not the ones missing us as much. They’re up there, having a grand reunion with their families and friends.
It’s us. The ones left behind. The ones that have to trudge along life’s winding road until we see them again.
“You are my joy,” were the last words I said to my twenty two-year old when we said goodbye the other day. I wanted him to know that he needed to give that back to me someday. I know it’s going to take a while. So, for now, I need to change my focus. I need to look forward to an everyday life without them, find peace in watching them from afar, discover the lesson in every failed friendship, and treasure the gifts & remembrances of those who’ve left me behind.
I think I’m going to start doing that tomorrow.
Today, I’m going to keep missing them with all my heart.