I haven’t had that many goodbyes to speak of, but I can tell you straight off the bat that I am not a fan.
They feel final and long and drawn out. Overdone. Severe as winter. Hard as bone. At least the goodbyes that I have known were like that.
Saying goodbye to the people of Nogales was painful and forceful. I kept thinking that I didn’t want to go back to Omaha. How could I come back to my reality when I had just witnessed so much suffering?
I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people of Kino or to Pepe. It felt too final. Like there was no hope of ever seeing them again.
On our last day at Kino, I immediately sought out Pepe. Most of our group sat around Pepe as we watched him paint. There was some conversation exchanged but for the most part we all sat there in silence unsure of what to say.
As I am writing this blog post, I am uncertain of where Pepe is. I am constantly thinking and praying for him hoping that he has food, shelter and water.
When it was time to say our final goodbyes I hugged Pepe and thanked him for everything and wished him luck. As I walked away, I looked back at him for what is probably that last time and he said, “Hasta Luego,” which in Spanish means “See ya later.” I smiled but as soon as I turned my head, my smile turned into tears.
Somehow saying that phrase includes the hope and promise that I will indeed see him again soon
But, the likelihood of seeing Pepe again is slim. I know of Pepe’s future plans and I am uncertain of what the outcome will be.
Now that we are back, it is essential that we remain thankful for the moments we were lucky enough to have in Nogales.
It may be difficult to accept, but it is important to remember that all human relationships eventually come to an end.Instead of looking at relationships from a purely physical perspective it is important we realize our relationships are much more.
Although our relationships may end physically, spiritually we are always connected.
Now I’ll be the first to admit this abstract concept is rather difficult to comprehend, however for me it has been a very powerful perspective to adopt.
While saying goodbye may close the physical door, we can always revisit our relationships through our memories.
Your memories are more powerful than you can imagine. Revisit them frequently and you will find that you have the ability to connect with anyone at anytime, regardless of location.
By being thankful we are able to connect with the true essence of life.
Instead of focusing on what you won’t be able to do in the future take sometime and be thankful for what you have already done.
I am thankful for the Kino Border Initiative.
I am thankful for those helping migrants.
I am thankful for meeting Pepe.