This week I had the bittersweet pleasure of hello and goodbye with these women.
They are each so dear to me – one a sister, one a daughter – both friends of my heart.
As Kristina was about to join the (mercifully short) line to go through security, she teared up, saying she wasn’t ready – she wasn’t ready to leave us all: her dog, her boyfriend, her family, her home.
She’ll be back in a month, but in this minute, that is small comfort when the week stormed by us in a flurry of activity, much as we knew it would. And she loves her college, her friends, her independence. This is not about that.
I kept it together – me sobbing into her freshly-ginger hair wouldn’t have helped.
It wasn’t until we were on the way home from the airport, when Ed asked if I would like to stop for ice cream or a chai, that something shook loose.
My heart latched onto that idea.
I wasn’t ready either – I wasn’t ready to go home to a house without her in it, after she had filled it with her bright energy, her friends, with voices and clothes everywhere and laughter.
Not quite yet.
So we stopped by a neighbourhood Starbucks. I sipped a chai, checked the Delta site on my phone for her departure status, and teared up frequently as I waved goodbye in my head.
It wasn’t like this when I left her at Ithaca at the end of August.
But tonight, my heart feels wrung out.