Military Moves: Summer Means Saying Goodbye

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military movesIt’s difficult to not feel animosity toward moving trucks. Every summer, they take away people we love. One is currently sitting in front of the house of good friends, as strangers pack, wrap, and load their belongings. When we drive or walk by, our hearts crack a little. We wish the moving truck was only an illusion. 

Summer means moving season in our neighborhood.

Our summers, it seems, are full of goodbyes. The dread settles in our stomachs for weeks before the tears fall as we give our last hugs and wave farewell.

Goodbyes are to be expected when you live in a military community. Our neighborhood, in particular, is thick with military families.

Upon retirement from the Army, we chose a neighborhood and a school that is proficient in managing the swinging door of military families. The result is that, instead of being the ones leaving, we are the ones left behind. It has been said that it’s harder to be left behind than the ones leaving. The comparison is irrelevant. Both are hard.

Military moves never get easier.

No matter how many times we say see you later, it still ends with tears and a hole in our hearts only those friends can fill.

So with the settling of summer comes the hard goodbyes for our children. They have learned to make fast friends, but letting go doesn’t come as easily. Tears and sorrow last much longer than the final hug.

Is it worth the pain and sorrow every year?

Absolutely! Knowing these incredible families who have lived all over the world, whose kids are resilient and strong and know how to be good friends in a short amount of time is so worth the pain of saying goodbye. We have the most beautiful memories to hold onto. Pictures to look back on. And social media to keep us connected as the next journey begins. So while our time together is never enough, we hold on to the moments we have and hold tight to the goodness and uniqueness of each friend. We are better people for having known them—each and every one. Even if for only for two or three years.

Before the moving truck down the street pulls away, we will drop by one last time to procure more hugs, to absorb their essence, to memorize their faces. We will watch their kids grow up on holiday cards and Facebook, not down the street as we would prefer.

Everyone who leaves says they’ll be back, but we know the reality. A few will return, while others will settle near family or where a job awaits. 

Our hearts come away from each goodbye guarded, not wanting to be broken once again. But the pain fades when we discover another amazing family. While they can’t take the place of friends we have lost, they will move into a new space in our hearts. The wonderful thing about hearts is that they can never be too full. 

 

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Erin is a Colorado native who loves both the mountains and the plains. She was an elementary school teacher until she did something she said she’d never do: marry an Army guy. Not only did she fall in love with him, she fell in love with the military life, and continues to write about it. Now she’s a stay-at-home mom to two amazing girls, though she’s rarely found at home. Erin is active in her community and church, is a former PTO President, and currently serves as Vice President of the Colorado Springs chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She believes in second chances, and is thankful for hers. She was thrilled to remain in Colorado Springs upon her husband’s retirement from the Army, and counts herself lucky to watch the sun set behind Cheyenne Mountain every evening. Erin enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, and any time spent with her family.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Couldn’t have said it any better. I was so blessed to know you and teach with you even for the short time it was!

    • Thank you, Amy! You know military life well. 🙂 Your words mean so much to me. I was blessed to know YOU!

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