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CwL Ep 160 – A story about goodbyes

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Remember the times when you went through the gates at customs and you knew you weren’t going to see the people you said goodbye to until you got home?

This is a story about one particular goodbye that Lisa will never forget.

As someone who finds goodbyes really hard, this one takes the cake! 

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here.

I can remember going on grade six camp. I remember being in the bus and looking out the window to my mum and tears falling down my face. I did not want to say goodbye. It was excruciating. And I think probably it’s the first time I had to check with Mom, really. But I was able to do sleepovers and all of that sort of thing. But going away on camp, being away from mom, whoa, I was a mess. And it never got easier. I remember the next major goodbye from her was when I was probably in about year nine or 10, something like that, maybe. Yeah, the middle years of high school. And she and Dad took a trip to Ireland. My dad is Irish and they headed over there. I don’t know if it was for a special occasion or just because they wanted a bit of a holiday, and off they went, and we had someone take care of us for those few weeks, and I thought I was going to die. I hated it. I couldn’t believe that they were actually leaving. And I mean, I can remember how it felt in my body. It was a really massive moment in my life, and I couldn’t wait to see them. I was so worried about them. I was so worried that they wouldn’t come back. I thought that they could die, and what would I do?

It was not going to be fun if that happened. But then the biggest goodbye that I remember, because I ended up living away from home for 10 years, five years in Sydney and five years in Brisbane, and I cried every single time saying goodbye to mom every time. I mean, it was ridiculous. I love myself, but there’s something about goodbyes for Lisa. So this one particular time, I was 21. I had done my double degree. I had saved up money. I had been working at Genes West through my uni years. In fact, right before I left, I’d actually been working at Triple M, the radio station. And I had been out on the rock patrols and we, I’d saved up money. I had saved up my money, and I was going on an overseas adventure for a year. Now, I might’ve saved some money, but I knew I was going to have to work when I got over there.

Lucky for me, I have an Irish passport, and I was able to get some work over in Dublin, but I had to leave first, right? I was going to see my boyfriend at the time. He had done a season in Whistler in Canada, so he’d left before me. Tragically sad, goodbye, of course, because Goodbyes and Lisa, but then I’d built up and I knew it was going to be my turn to go. I had my backpack, I had the tickets, and this is before we had mobile phones or anything like that. That meant I could be in touch with my family. I mean, remember those crazy years?

It was like 2002, 2002. And I was seriously traumatised by the idea of saying goodbye to my family. They all came out to the airport with me, and I could barely breathe. I was not coping with this whole situation. It was full-on. I was excited. I mean, well, I was flying into, also flying into America. And I mean, nine 11 had been not that long before, but off we went and into America and then up to Canada. And I was really looking forward to seeing my boyfriend. And I did not know how I was going to say goodbye to my family. I was really nervous. Everyone had written me beautiful little letters that I would read later and practically a puddle on the floor. I just had to get through the gates. And at that stage, the gates were intense. You walked through and they closed behind you. That was it done. And I remember just thinking, I have to do this. I have to walk through those doors. So I said goodbye to everyone. Oh my gosh, I feel teary even thinking about it. I can still see them now. And I walked through the gates and I knew I wouldn’t see them for a year. And as I walked through the gates, I was crying so much, so

heavily that people around me asked me if I was okay. Are you all right? Someone said, have you just said goodbye to someone you love? And I just looked at them. I’m like, literally, every person I love, I’m not going to see them for a year. I’m hyperventilating. They’re thinking, what is wrong with this person? Wow. Kept walking through and went through security and did all the things. And I mean, there was literally nowhere to contact them. And it’s wild now. I mean, as soon as my kids do something like this, I expect selfies from the airport lounge. I’ll probably call them and walk them through the whole thing.

Contact. We’re always in contact, but then something happened. I had done the hard thing, and then I just felt this huge sense of liberation, like, I’m doing it. We’re here now. We get to go on this adventure. You are travelling by yourself to America. I mean, I now think about my parents and how tough it must’ve been. I mean, this was the time of I needed to pay money in internet cafes in order to send them emails, and that was it. And then a few random phone calls when we could afford phone cards. That’s pretty crazy. I think about 21 now. I’m like, that’s a child that is effectively a child. And I got on this plane and off I went, and I was suddenly a woman in the world living my very best life. It was the best experience. Scary. But also I think I was almost too young and too naive to realise just how scary it was. I was there for the good times, and yet I experienced homesickness. I didn’t even know it was possible to feel like that. Homesickness to me felt like hunger. So I ate a lot. It was like I was always hungry. I couldn’t feel myself. I couldn’t get rid of the feeling with fruit. And I’m not an emotional eater. In fact, usually what happens to me is when I’m feeling big emotions, I actually find it really hard to eat. But homesickness was different, and yet I had the best time. I had a really, really good time. But I have

Struggled whole life with goodbyes. That one probably takes the cake when it comes to saying goodbye to my family. But I mean, the ultimate goodbye was Nick leaving dying. I mean, that’s a permanent goodbye. And I think that, that’s put goodbyes in perspective for me big time. But when I was 21 years old, my little Kathmundu backpack. I was not okay about that goodbye. And neither were the people around me going through customs. Bless their hearts. I hope you enjoyed that story. I love telling stories. If you want to become a better storyteller, then you really don’t have long to jump into. What’s the story? We close the doors Monday, 8th of April, and we kick off on Tuesday the ninth. If you want to be a part of a group of budding storytellers, then I can’t wait to see you inside. Just check out the link in my bio. It’ll take you to the details. See you soon.

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