May 24, 2014

Una nueva cara de las despedidas en mi vida | A new side to the goodbyes in my life

It's unusual to have 4 despedidas in a span of less than a month.

When I think of despedidas, I think of the one we had in September 2006 in Half Moon Bay just before we left for Mexico. We had already said goodbye to part of my family in NY, and to my parents, brother, and now sister-in-law who'd come to say goodbye to us in California.

That was the last time Margo has seen my sister-in-law.

Or some other despedidas that invariably began to occur when I started making friends with expats who, after living in Mexico for a year or two, moved back to their homes in any number of countries with relatively better economies in other parts of the world. Those goodbyes stung unexpectedly; I was surprised by a rupture of attachments that I hadn't even realized I'd made. I mended my heart in those moments and then resolved to not "get so close" to the ones "who wouldn't stay."

Time passed, things changed, my social circles stabilized, and I focused my attentions closer to home, became a mother. The focus drew more deeply toward my immediate family. I found steadfast friends close to home. With the arrival of a baby began the ritual of closer touch with family. I began to write. I went through a transformative therapy process. I published a book. Raised thousands of dollars and descended on Congress. Became part of myriad online networks working to give some "home away from home" to those exiled worldwide. Became much, much more comfortable sharing my, once perceived unusual, now clearly commonplace, political situation with acquaintances, strangers.

In the process, I unearthed some of the power that I had been missing since that first major despedida.

Coincidentally, or maybe it is that swell of approaching summer, three friends are departing Mexico within weeks of each other. I regret that I will not see them anymore and that I will not be able to afford to go visit them. It is very likely that our relationships will go the way of Skype calls and Facebook chats, when what I'd much prefer is a face to face glass of wine on a breezy mid-spring afternoon.

But the goodbyes don't feel as threatening anymore. Have I invested less of myself? Perhaps I have cast my net of affections more widely. But I haven't found myself holding back as I once thought I might. As they say, love begets love, and I think this goes for friendships as well.

When I talk to my friends of their feelings upon leaving, it's with a knowing heart of the mixed emotions. I can empathize with their ambivalence about what's waiting on the other side; as well as their steadfast knowledge that despite the fact that the unknown is fast approaching, now is the right time to fly.

I think of the words I shared with the delightful Rin of the Shambala-tradition retreat center Casa Werma in Patzcuaro, where I stayed during my last book talk sponsored by the Patzcuaro and Morelia book clubs.

One of the things we talked about was that the only real place we can find as home is in ourselves, and this is one of the things I have slowly discovered more and more to be true as time goes by. I can hug my friends tight, and not feel jealous of their departure. I can feel fully grateful for the time our paths have crossed. And when I wish them well I know that they will be, and so shall I—no matter how many tears get shed in the meantime.

As for my own fast-approaching despedida from the offices of Peace Corps Mexico in less than 2 weeks, that represents another story. It's a story of an unrequitted quest to find long-term satisfaction, in my profession, in a way that can fulfill my family's needs and my happiness. That is a continuing saga, to be told another time.

P.S. Buen viaje, Mahli, Annie, and Krystal.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful reflection. And what a blessing that you continue to make such good friends at each step along your journey.


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