All good things must come to and end and it is a fact that one cannot live at the Walt Disney World Resort (though in fairness I would be willing to give it a try). There comes a point when we must pack up, say good-bye and head home. This trip the good-bye seemed a little harder than usual. Mostly because it wasn’t the only good-bye I needed to say. When next I go back to a Disney Park, life will be different. The Princess may not be with me and if she is she will be an adult with her own plans and priorities. My years of visiting Disney Parks with my child are over. It is a hard reality to come to grips with.
I have said a lot of goodbyes recently. After getting back from WDW, I packed up Disney Dog and the Aristocat and moved to a new community. I said goodbye to the people and places that made up my life for the last four years. I also left The Princess behind so she could continue her summer job. It was hard but I was busy enough with unpacking a new house and settling into a new church that I got through it. Then last week happened.
Last week, The Princess moved to college. She is settled into her new dorm, making new friends, and figuring out her classes. She is also beginning to create the bones of a new life that for the first time does not involve me. I am on the edges of her life. I will see her for holidays, exchange texts and phone calls, but her life is now primarily hers. Which means who I am in my life has changed. My life is also primarily mine for the first time in more than 18 years. In addition to saying goodbye to her, I am also having to say goodbye to that part of me and it is hard.
Also last week, the 16 year old Aristocat had to be put to sleep. He was sick. It was the right choice. But it was one goodbye too many for me. I find that the death of my grumpy, old cat is hitting me hard. I wasn’t ready for another goodbye. I need my life to stop changing for just a little bit. I need some stability.
In my mind, I know everything is fine. I know that my life is moving in ways that are natural, normal, and good. But my heart is breaking a little bit and it feels like it will never be whole. It feels like the world has shifted under me and I don’t know what to do to put it back on track.
My brain keeps trying to help. It reminds me that I’m not alone, that all will be well, that there is a plan. I know all this. But saying goodbye is hard and sometimes I need a reminder.
“The Lord is my solid rock,
my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock —
I take refuge in him!–
he’s my shield,
my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety.”
Psalm 18: 2