Message on a Balloon

A shiny, red Mylar balloon flashed its way into our morning walk one weekend. Star-shaped, it bobbed just above the weeds. Someone had sharpie-penned, “Even though I am little knowing you I already hold you close in my heart.”   Forget the bad grammar.  Was the would-be sweetheart snuggling up to a new love right this moment? Had the intended released the balloon in disdain?  Had we walked into a hello or a good-bye? 

Yes.  Farewelling is sharp in my mind these days.  Every Friday evening I happily greet my husband and every Sunday afternoon I bid him goodbye.  Again.  We are two months into his six month contract.   This is not easy.

I am trying to learn some lessons about making it through the dreaded Stages of Departure:

  1. Lunch is over. He leaves after lunch.
  2. There is his bag by the door.
  3. Here is some food to take with you.
  4. Is it time to go already? Really?
  5. Truck doors slam shut, the big engine growls, in a few seconds the red truck will be out of sight.
  6. Time to pivot—and plant something.

It’s late spring/early summer here.  Prime planting time.  Front yards all around sprout color and texture.  A Sunday afternoon is a great time to dig in the dirt—a little treat to look forward to.  It’s also a good time to call a friend or visit my parents who live just a short walk away. Knowing I will do some or all of these things directs focus beyond the immediate pain of separation.  It eases the transition.  Usually within a couple hours of departure, I have adjusted into “life on my own” mode, which while not preferred, is ok.

A wise friend once told me how people survive traumatic incidents.  Like they get covered up in an avalanche and no-one knows they’re missing until they show up bewildered on a park bench three weeks later.  She said they figure out a pattern that moves them in the right direction—and they repeat that pattern—whether it is a miniscule movement or a thought—again and again—until finally, miraculously, they survive.

I said a prayer for the Mylar Balloon Couple and held my beloved’s hand as we strode home through the morning—steeling for another parting.


 Image by banksy. Thanks to


 Next:  Leaving the Mother Land

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