Learning How to Say ‘Goodbye’

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ Winnie the Pooh


I don’t like goodbyes. I also don’t think I’m alone in disliking them.


As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of change, goodbyes often send a jolt of fear through me. It’s a way of acknowledging that something is changing, and that in some area, life won’t look the same anymore.


Of course, not all goodbyes are big ones. Everyday “See you Laters” and “Byes” don’t have the same effect. But having gone through a large number of changes over the past few months, the “goodbyes” have also increased in number.

This post was prompted by a visit back to school, of all places. I went back last week, to see my sister perform in the school musical. Don’t get me wrong, the show was fantastic, and I loved it.


But as I sat there, I realised just how much I missed it. Missed being involved, especially in the music department.  It’s hard to say goodbye to something after a short amount of time, but even harder if it’s been a long time.


Now, for the music department in question, we’re talking about 7 years. For someone who left at age 18, I’m talking about almost 40% of my lifetime. (That’s slightly scary when I see it like that…!)

Last summer, it was like leaving a large extended family behind. The department wasn’t just a group of teachers and students: the friendships went beyond year-group divisions, teachers were like mentors. And it was really painful. If I’m honest, I put off trying to admit it was happening for several months – and each ‘last’ was made better by knowing there was something else in the future. But in July, it finished for real. And boy, did I cry.


How do you say goodbye to something that has been so crucial to your life for so long?

How do you say goodbye to people who mean so much – and it’s normal to see them almost every day?


From weekly rehearsals, school concerts, playing for the band in school musicals, and even a jazz band tour, I’ve lost it all in the last few months. It’s gone from everything, to nothing. And that’s been really hard to deal with. Sitting in the audience last week for the show made me realise how much has gone, and how much I miss it.


It’s definitely been a year of change, and I’ve had to get used to saying a number of goodbyes. The people who’d I see every day at school have moved away to university, or have started jobs – and routine has changed quite dramatically. I’ve said goodbye to friends as they go off on new adventures, and watched our friendships change. I’ve also said goodbye to dreams; as my gap year plans changed, it took a while to get my head around the new plan.


But throughout it all, I’ve been learning.


Learning that life does go on, and change is inevitable. Goodbyes are unstoppable. And regardless of how much I may try to stop something happening, it will: whether I want it to, or not.

Just like Winnie the Pooh says – I’ve been so blessed to have experienced such love and fun in the music department that to leave it hurts so much. And I’m not sure I can ever say thank you enough for what they’ve done, and the difference they made. After all, it made life at school special, and certainly memorable.


Yes, I’ve acknowledged that that period of my life has gone. I still miss it, and will continue to do so. It was right to cry – in my own way, that was paying heed to the fact that things were ending. Going back to the school concerts in a month or so will be tough – because I don’t want to be sitting in the audience watching, I want to be backstage, on-stage and involved.


It’s someone else’s turn now. I’ll find new adventures; new ensembles, new opportunities, and a new musical family. At least, that’s my prayer.


‘Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.’

Isaiah 43:18-19


It’s been an exciting week for me in terms of university offers coming through, and it’s making university seem real. As in, I’ll be going to university in 7 months time. It’s exciting, don’t get me wrong, but it will also be another goodbye, another big change, but also an adventure. As I start the process of working out my final decision, one of the main factors in it will be where can I get involved, especially in music.


Saying goodbye is hard, but I’m learning to be excited more about what’s to come, rather than what I’m leaving behind.

“We live in a world full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”Irving Wallace


Han x


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