Tag Archives: difficulties abroad

Good-bye by Patty Griffin

When you leave home for another city, state, country, there are no guarantees that things will be the same upon return. In fact, you can bet things will change: that favorite restaurant closes, new developments pop up, parents get older. Sometimes, this kind of change can be difficult. You want things to maintain the way you left them.

The hardest thing I’ve experienced while living abroad has been losing a very dear friend of mine to cancer. Upon my first year in Korea, I left my California summer visit, having seen my friend nearing the end of his time.

Only I didn’t know it.

The first weeks of school I was distracted; vigilant on Facebook and Skype for news about his progress. There was guilt around the thought of not being there. Inevitably, the news arrived and my heart ached terribly. There was nothing more I wanted than to be home and mourn with family and friends. I remember discovering Patty Griffin’s song, Goodbye, right around this time. It was if it had been written for me.

This type of tragedy happens too often to friends and colleagues I’ve met abroad. Saying good-bye to someone loved is hard enough as it is…when it hits unexpectedly, it’s incredibly painful.

This post is inspired by friends who are going through this very thing. My heart goes out to them. If we can take anything away from loss, it’s knowing that time is fleeting, life is impermanent, and every moment counts.


Occurred to me the other day
You’ve been gone now a couple years
Well, I guess it takes while
For someone to really disappear
And I remember where I was
When the word came about you
It was a day much like today
the sky was bright, and wide, and blue

And I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

Today my heart is big and sore
It’s tryin’ to push right through my skin
I won’t see you anymore
I guess that’s finally sinkin’ in
‘Cause you can’t make somebody see
By the simple words you say
All their beauty from within
Sometimes they just look away

But I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

~to Dino, with love~


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