Goodbye's, even when they are just see-you-arounds, are still hard....
This past Sunday was our last Sunday at our ward. What is a "ward"? In the LDS church, you are assigned a church building and time to meet according to where you live. That is your ward. Your ward becomes such a huge part of your life, a part of who you are, a part of your family. They are the people that you worship with, the people you do service projects with, the people who live on your street and go to your schools, the people you plan activities with, the people you grow the closest to. And it is SO hard to leave! I knew it would be hard and I knew it was coming, but I don't think I had prepared myself enough. I don't think that I even knew how much my heart would break.
I held myself together until it was time for Primary, where the children meet together to hear lessons about the gospel and to learn different songs. Watching my children with their friends and teachers and knowing that I wouldn't be seeing these people on a regular basis, made my heart ache and those hot tears burn at the back of my eyes. In Senior Primary (the older kids - 8-11), the boys were each invited to chose their favorite Primary song for the children to sing to them. Bear chose "Armies of Helaman" (which is both of the boys favorite song - and the only song that they request at night as they are tucked in bed) and Moose chose "Book of Mormon Stories". Then I got to choose. I knew if I chose something sweet and slow, that the tears would pool up in my eyes and I wouldn't be able to see the music, which makes it difficult to play the piano. I chose "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ", which has been a favorite of mine ever since I served as the Primary President. My plan didn't work. I cried and cried. After the closing prayer, I tried to clear my eyes so I could play some postlude as the children left to find their parents. But the children lined up by the piano to give me hugs and tell me just how much they would miss me. As much as I wanted to be there hugging them back, I wished I had some magical powers that would take me away.... anywhere... where I could just sob. I felt like all of the emotions I'd been holding back over the past few months were finally given an opportunity to be released... but I couldn't. Not in public... Maybe in my bedroom, or in the shower (that's the best place to cry), or in my husbands arms, but not at church. It took everything I had to hold back what I call the "ugly cry".
As we drove away and headed toward home, I thanked my Heavenly Father for such dear people... truly the most Christlike people I've ever known. I know I'll see them again - because they keep calling saying, "When can I come help you? Can I help you clean? Can I help you pack? Can I bring you food or watch your children?" But I will miss them dearly when we move!
Speaking of moving... I should probably go clean out a closet or something :)