My kid sister probes me for information. She needs to know more about me. Our upbringing was an odd one. I’m more of a mother-figure to her than a big sister; with 19 years separating us, she “ma’ams” me rather than “Ooh, girl” or “Child, pleases” me and it just seems weird.
She urges me to open up, to share, but I’m not really the type to complain more than I need to or give more of me than I should. I’ve learned who to shed skin with and who not to and this isn’t to say that my sister isn’t to be trusted, no, that’s not it. I’m just . . . careful now.
I want to vent sometimes to her, I want her to hear me when I’m in distress, yet there’s this overwhelming feeling to protect her too even if it’s from me. She assures me she’s old enough to digest what I dole out but I’m hesitant.
I’ve lived a far different life and my demons tend to follow me along my sacred paths and my sister is still growing, still learning. I don’t want her to know the me that drives people away. I’m still working on that me. I need her around.
I’d hate for her to be one more person I find myself chasing after; another heart to grip. People want you to strip bare, stand naked before them, but many of them aren’t ready for the curves and folds and two-toned skin. They just want to see more of you even if more of you isn’t beautiful.
It’s one more thing they can hang over your head, dangle like a dagger, cut you to the quick. I’m trying. I swear, I am. I ask her to be patient with me, to understand — I have a way and my way is comforting. I can’t be rushed.
She understands. Thank God in heaven. She understands.
And how I’ve learned to say “See You Later” instead
Ihave learned to say “See You Later” when I am leaving people or a place I love. It’s more accurate than “Goodbye.” Goodbye is final — an ending. Everything in life may not always require an ending, especially when bonds and love exist for the person/people/things. Friday, November 06, 2020, was my last day at my previous job. It was full of tearful expressions, gifts, social-distance hugs, and well-wishes. I have stated this once and I will state it again — I am not (have not) leaving people I hate, I left people I love. It is hard. It has been hard. But ultimately, this decision is still the best one for me.
This week, I have had patients cry, want to hug me, and talk to me longer than they usually do as they learned of my decision to transition to our Central Scheduling Unit. Patients have brought in gifts, written up remarkable cards for me to hand to my supervisor, and shared their respect and admiration for me. The one phrase I have heard more than I can count this week was, “Thank you for making us feel safe.” I will miss many of them and others I cannot be happier to get away from — to possibly never see again in a professional setting.
I have learned to say “See You Later” when I am leaving people or a place I love. It’s more accurate than “Goodbye.” Goodbye is final — an ending.
The law firm above our facility consists of a team of one man and three women. Each of the women I have grown to care for and respect. The three of them got together to give me a card with such heartfelt notes written in it that drew tears from my eyes as I read them. As Ms. Leslie approached me and readied her speech, I stood there — fully in tune with her words and thanked her profusely for such a kind gesture. She made sure I knew how loved I was and how much my presence meant to them. She asked if I would train my replacement and I informed her I would.
So, this past week was made up of me training my replacement and getting her ready for the week ahead. I was thankful we did not have as much traffic as we usually get in the facility so it made training her much easier, but we had several instances occur of which she will need to be aware and ready to tackle when they take place with no one else around to assist her. After our third day of training, her question to me was, “Did you do this by yourself?” and I informed her I did. Her response to that was, “This is not a job for one person.” I agreed with her.
The one phrase I have heard more than I can count this week was, “Thank you for making us feel safe.”
Some days I would screen over two hundred people for Coronavirus, COVID-19 symptoms, and out of that two hundred, I would probably have to turn away five to ten per day for having symptoms or refusing to wear face coverings/masks. The job is taxing, and on my best days, it completely exhausted me. I am sure it had to be pure adrenaline and the high-energy of my nature that kept me afloat.
My replacement is a bubbly middle-aged woman who has a cheerful disposition and a need to be around people again. She is transitioning from a remote position back to a clinical setting. I could tell this past week that perhaps she may have made the wrong decision. In the middle of a global pandemic and at one of the busiest facilities in the area, trying to get as much information as I could transfer from my brain to hers felt like an act of futility. The job itself is tough, but having to train someone in the midst of the job made it even tougher.
Mymost important piece of advice to her was, “Find a groove that works for you. This foyer is your baby. You will have to own it or it will own you.” I could also feel her level of discomfort too as some of my coworkers came out to the foyer to bid me farewell in front of her. They were emotional, they kept asking me to think it over and to not leave, and others wished me the best but let it be known they were sad I stuck with my decision.
Regardless of what I did to get them to curb the conversation for a later time, they went on. I am a fan of giving people the floor to express themselves, but I am also a person who is constantly connected to the feelings of others. I wanted this transition to be smooth for the new Screener and not one filled with anxiety of having to step into the shoes of someone else before her.
The job is taxing, and on my best days, it completely exhausted me. I am sure it had to be pure adrenaline and the high-energy of my nature that kept me afloat.
We made it through the week with her trained as much as anyone could be trained for a position such as this — questions had been asked and answered and she will have many more; I am sure. They will not be for me. I left the entrance space of our facility in her hands. I hope she takes care of it.
I worked six hours that day, knowing in advance I would need to leave earlier than my normal to rest up for the new job next week. Prior to my leaving, I went to each modality to see their faces and spread some love before I turned in my keys. The blessings that flowed from the mouths of these beautiful people reminded me of why this decision is such a hard one. The plant you see above as the cover image is just one of the many gifts given to me shortly before I exited the building. I instantly fell in love with it.
One of my coworkers, the one in which I am closest to, grabbed me, and hugged me, and I felt her body shake a little and I said three times, “Don’t you dare cry,” and she didn’t. I said to her, “This is not goodbye for us — it’s not. This is, see you later.” And it will be.
I have learned the difference between the two. You say goodbye to those people or places you never intend to see again. Goodbye isn’t reserved for the team I had the pleasure of spending nearly three years with — no, goodbye has no place regarding them.
To my surprise, on August 29, 2020, I opened my mailbox to their invitation. One of my exes and his fiancé are marrying soon. I guess I cannot really call it a surprise. I knew I would receive an invitation. He and I spoke about it, but I buried it in the recesses of my mind and sort of forgotten about it, until yesterday. This will not be a belligerent recanting of how I am hurt or upset or even bitter. I am undeniably happy for him and his wife-to-be.
*Jay is a catch. He is a man I would be more than happy to recommend to a woman deserving of him. He’s intelligent, witty, creative, and in touch with his feminine side — he is a listener who heard me every time I had something to say. And if there was action needed for us to work, he stepped into that action. We just did not work, and there are reasons for that — all of them outside of our control.
I think it’s important for couples in intimate relationships to recognize when the spark disappears and is no longer attainable to move on from one another in that realm. Jay and I stayed friends — good friends, the kind that check up on each other and have lunch or dinner with each other when he is in town. We had/have so much in common, and that remains. But, I knew, years ago, I did not want marriage. And even if we had made it as a couple, I doubt, if he proposed to me — I would have said “Yes.”
Learning of this significant news caught me off guard. I’d sent him a text message one evening, as I am apt to do from time to time and we sort of fell into a discussion about life and he later said, “Hey! Did I tell you I am getting married?!” To which I replied, “You most certainly did not!”
I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling of elation to you in my response. I want this for him. I have always wanted him to find happiness and whatever he believes that to be — it is my hope it manifests.
I gazed at the invitation for a long time. I looked at him and his beautiful wife-to-be and smiled. I shook my head in disbelief — this is happening! Jay is getting married. And I smiled again. The background image is of the two of them, standing in a record store, holding up an album, and on it are their names imprinted announcing the date. I thought to myself, “This must have been his idea.” We both love music and it is one of the first things that connected us to each other.
Now, this woman, this beautiful person he found to spend the rest of his life with, will get to enjoy his talents and all of whom he is.
They prepared for the times in which we live. Because of the global pandemic, the number of people who can physically attend is limited, however, they will stream it live. I will be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I will also send them a gift. I am more than happy to share in his joy in this capacity.
I wanted him to know I received their invitation. I sent him a text message that read: “My invitation came! Thank you! It’s beautiful and I’ll be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I’m so happy for you!” Knowing him as I do, I knew he’d respond within moments — that’s just him. And he did with, “Lol. Ok. Cool. Glad you got it. Did you have any questions about the live stream? And thank you!!”
When I think about who he truly is and who I truly am, we couldn’t last — not on that level, but as friends? There is a beauty to who we are as friends that needs no explanation. I love him and want only the best for him. I have watched his siblings grow up, begin their own families, move away to cultivate and enrich their lives, and I now know he is doing the same.
Four years ago, I may not have been as equipped to feel this way for him — to want him to find true happiness outside of being with me. I held on to some emotions that needed releasing and extracting from my system decades before, but this is what aging does — this is what growth does — it allows you to reflect on what you need to change deep within you and put it into action.
Because of this, I can tell you with no doubt, I am happy, truly happy for this man I once loved intimately and passionately to begin his life anew with his wife-to-be. I wish them wedded bliss–and anyone with evil intentions cannot harm or touch it. And should they want children, that they are happy, healthy, and equal parts of both of them.
He’s getting married and everything in me shouts in elation. And nothing else.