Shakespeare got it pretty right: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Leaving New Jersey loved ones was filled with moments of sorrow and tears, and yet – there has been a sweetness to it that makes it durable. Clearly, for me, the hardest thing about being a missionary is the goodbyes. It doesn’t get easier, either! The next hardest thing is the sorting, packing, cleaning, and lugging across the world every time we do this. Somehow Eric and I don’t do things simply. We try — I really really try to simplify! — but we always end up with lots of stuff going with us.
We had an amazing crew come in to help us. In addition to a number of friends who came over in the weeks prior to help with packing, a group of six or seven friends from church came over on our last day to help with all the final cleaning and gathering of stuffs. (Thanks, Marcie, for organizing this!) They were amazing, and there’s NO WAY we could have done it without them. The six trips to the dentist, culminating the day before in root canal, were not on my TO DO list for the last week. But these friends helped us to make our deadline, and to leave things spic and span! (/?sp?) We even received an email today thanking us for leaving the place so beautiful.
That afternoon, we went around Cedar Lane missionary home to say our goodbyes. It was sad- how much we loved these dear friends and this special place that God had provided!
That night we checked into a hotel — an idea suggested by a number of friends in our mission — and had our last time to hang out with our friends the Weigels. They brought our favorite PF Chang’s food to the hotel, and swam with the kids. It was sad, sad to hug and say goodbye.
The next morning our church had a prayer time for us. They asked if we wanted to say anything, and I knew if i opened my mouth even a little the tears would start rolling. After church, they had a wonderful reception for us… my sister Allison surprised us with a beautiful cake that held memories of our last 8 months:
Later that afternoon, my family gathered for a last delicious dinner. The feast culminated in a favorite childhood delicacy– homemade ice cream! It was our kids’ first time, and Owen especially loved the making as well as the eating.
As we said goodbye to several family members that night, and I was crying, Annie the comforter said, “Don’t worry Mommy. You’ll see your sisters in heaven at least!” Bring on the tears.
The next morning, my Dad and Allison drove us to the airport… at 4:15 am! The good thing about these ungodly times is that it’s almost too early to cry too too much. But I still did some… and as we were walking away from them into the terminal, Annie again was my comforter: “Mommy, don’t worry. You’ll see Molly (our Maltese dog) soon. She’ll give you lots of kisses.” (She was right!)