Leaving

I thought I could tear away
the pain of leaving
quickly
like the swift pain
of ripping off a bandage
from a wound
that needs redressing.
But leaving is loss
and burying loss
suddenly
is like digging
a too-shallow grave.
Leaving means coming to terms
with years missed
with faces young and old
missing the first teeth
the first basket
of stories of the first love
sharing of lives over coffee and good food
being excluded from chunks of memories
that have no room for you.
Missing furry faces
gazing trustingly at you
never knowing
why one day you disappeared.
Leaving means starting over
trying to shove
roots still tender from their last uprooting
into new soil
hard, unfamiliar
and perhaps unforgiving.
You wonder how it can happen
if it will ever happen.
Leaving means
feeling that ache of sorrow
the ever-rising lump in your throat
the tears threatening behind your eyes
at kind words
special memories
anticipating last good-byes.
Leaving could mean forever
at least for this life
and you just don’t know
if this might be the case.
So leaving is a raw wound
that will need to be redressed
over and over
until one day
when you gently lift the bandage corner
you see only the scar.
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