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  • Writer's pictureElana

handprints on my heart

Saying goodbye is hard. The worst part of starting a new chapter is that it means the end of the one before.

We have planted roots in Seattle. Even though we moved here with the intention of leaving after a few years, four years later we’re going back and find ourselves leaving our home… again. Leaving the home that we’ve spent our entire married lives building together. Leaving home to go home. It’s hard to have multiple homes! And it’s heartbreaking to be saying goodbye to one of them.

Along the same lines as our story that has chapters beginning and chapters that are ending, there are also star characters.

For example, Navin has had such a hard time saying goodbye to his hockey teams. They were by far the people he had the most difficult time telling that he was leaving. After playing his last game last night, he stayed on the ice a few seconds after everyone else left, and took a moment to look around the rink and soak it all in. I couldn’t understand why he had placed so much importance on hockey. But when I think about it, it makes sense. When we moved to Seattle, I had friends that I knew through work, and we had friends that we knew as a couple, but his hockey friends were the first friends that were all his own. When he might have felt lost in the roller coaster of change and far away from home, they were a welcoming community. (And let’s face it: a goalie in Seattle is a lot more rare and treasured than a goalie in…well…anywhere in Canada.) He’ll find a new hockey team to play with, but I know it doesn’t make it any less sad for him to say goodbye to this team and these friends.

I’ve had my relationships that have been swirling around in my head and heart since we made the decision to move. Some are the people I would have expected I’d be sad to leave; the people I’ve been closest to during our time in Seattle, who I would call in times of emergency or have dinner plans with regularly. Some are the people who have stayed by my side through all of the questions and struggles, explorations and celebrations. But there are a few people I feel truly heartbroken about leaving because I don’t feel like we had enough time together. For example, the owner of the mosaic studio who built an environment where I could feel free to express myself, find comfort and companionship in similar company, and grow by learning about a passion that I knew nothing about a couple of short years ago. My favourite yoga teacher who, along the way, I found out I have so much in common with, who helped me practice being grounded and kind to myself. My amazingly talented friend who woke up an old dream that has always been deep inside of me, encouraged me to pursue my love of musical theatre and, no joke, gives the best hugs in the entire world.

I’m going to miss those hugs. They snuck into my heart when I was least expecting and have forever left their mark. It has been so wonderful to be surprised by the appreciation and love I feel for these people.

I couldn’t possibly put my feelings into words any better than it’s already been written in the musical Wicked:

“…so let me say before we part So much of me is made of what I learned from you You’ll be with me like a hand print on my heart And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine by being my friend…”

Even if we do a great job staying in touch and nurturing the relationships that we’ve developed here in Seattle, I know it won’t be the same. And even though I’m very much looking forward to being closer to my family, my heart aches at what I’m leaving behind, and at the unrealized potential of the relationships that didn’t get a chance to fully blossom.

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

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