18 May, 2015

Our seventh funeral

Periodically these days I'm feeling icky, and it's primarily related to what I call the "funeral effect". I wrote about it in March last year when we were going through it then.

It happens when you're leaving. Everyone talks to you about leaving. It can be like a living funeral. The collective effect of all these conversations is sadness. Friends also stop talking to you in quite the same way, they don't want to talk about future events that you won't be a part of, so you are gradually eased to the edge of the community.

I guess it helps everyone cope with the emotions associated with parting with friends, but it isn't nice. Especially when it happens so often, this will be our seventh international move. It does help that I can see the pattern, that I know what's happening here and can name it, but it still hurts.

I also know a small taste of what it is like to not have that grieving period. After the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in March 2011, many of my friends evacuated from Tokyo. Decisions were made so quickly that goodbyes weren't possible. That hurt too. Each morning I'd turn Facebook on and find who else had left without saying goodbye. So in a way I appreciate that we do have a time to farewell and make the break, but that doesn't make it painless.

This is what I wrote in March last year:
 We're going and there is pain in that, and people will miss us. Praise God they will miss us, that means that we've meant something to them. It's hard enough to leave, but when you have repeated conversations . . . it does tend to make it even harder. On Thursday afternoon in the space of a couple of hours I had multiple conversations about us leaving. It just left me feeling empty and sad.

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