Man sitting with dog on dock

Guest Blog: Moving On: How to Say Goodbye to Your Friends


Blogger Biography: Cheryle is a 10-year military spouse who has lived away from her husband longer than they’ve been under the same roof. Now that they are transitioning into the retirement stage, a whole new adventure has begun. There will soon be more time to spend at the lake, with their three children and their first grandchild. Retirement doesn’t mean you leave the military family behind because once you are a part of the military family, you are always family. Her husband’s military civilian job will keep them close to the family long after retirement.

Most military families go through the experience of saying goodbye to their friends on a regular basis. All those days of waving out the car window watching your friends get smaller and smaller as you drive towards your next destination. Thankfully, now it is not so much about how to say goodbye, but about ways to say hello. Social networking has made saying goodbye a whole lot easier.

I remember when our only option for keeping in touch was investing in stationery, envelopes and stamps, along with an address book that needed constant updating. I was that girl. The one who always wrote letters, sent cards and kept the address book current. The overachiever who even had her address book organized. Where did she go? Now, after so many address changes of my own, the new version of me tears off the tiny return address labels from Christmas cards and places them inside the book, only to have them fall out every time I open it. Each time a card would come in the mail, a little voice inside my head whispered to take a moment, update my address book and throw away the little sticker. Did I listen to that inner voice? No. I convinced myself that I would eventually take that elusive 15 minutes of peaceful coffee time, curled up in my bathrobe, and tackle the necessary updates. I’m not sure who that little voice keeps speaking to, but my book still remains full of return address labels.

Now when I want to stay in touch with friends, I don’t have to buy stationery; I can just sit down at my computer and log on! There are numerous social networking sites where you can chat, share pictures and even play games with friends. Even better, you can literally “see” the friends you miss by logging on with a video chat program.  When you miss your best friend, there is nothing better than to sit in front of your computer and actually see her face close enough to touch. I love it when we sit down with our coffee like the old days in her kitchen. She will parade the new outfit she bought yesterday, my cat will jump up in my lap and the kids will walk by and say hi…it feels like she’s right there.

I remember how uplifting it was to use video chat to see my husband’s face when he was deployed to Afghanistan. Even if the picture was fuzzy, or the audio would follow a few seconds after his lips moved, all that mattered was that this wonderful technology now brought my husband right into my living room.

I will always be thankful for the technology that makes military life easier to endure when missing loved ones who are far away. So whether it is for a deployment, or to stay in touch with the many friends you’ve left behind over the years, it is much easier to say goodbye, knowing it is now easier to say hello.

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