Saying Goodbye

by Janet Holm McHenry

Parting is such sweet sorrow. William Shakespeare

I always thought my mom overly emotional when she cried at our partings. She’d stand in the driveway and wave until Craig, the four kids, and I were down the road and out of sight. We live three hours away, and while that’s not too far, work and kids’ activities often made it difficult to visit.

And then my own kids went off to college . . . and got married . . . and had children with crazy activity schedules. As young people move away to find their best jobs and life situation, visits become rarer, don’t they? Those moments together become precious. You want the clock to slow down, so you can soak in conversation from meals together, remember the jokes, and watch the interaction around the gathering room.

I am thankful for technology such as cellphones with Facetime and computers with Zoom, but there’s nothing like real face-to-face conversation and hugs, along with doing dishes together and playing poker and watching timeless movie classics. Even picking Legos out of carpet and hauling out the extra trash do not seem like chores, because the family is home.

Just a few years ago, we had one of our four kids married and living on an Atlantic island off the coast of Africa and another one married and living in Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Even a weeklong visit a year didn’t seem enough. But now many families have experienced separation from their loved ones for two years or longer because of the pandemic and restrictions on travel. We are all missing real facetime.

So, I can understand the ache that David and Jonathan must have felt when they, as friends, parted from each other. Jonathan’s father, King Saul, had gone mad and in his paranoia was hunting David down to kill him. Nonetheless, David and Saul’s son Jonathan remained devoted friends. Each time they parted, they weren’t sure they would see each other again. Parting truly can be sweet sorrow when we express our love and care for our loved ones.

So, just as my sentimental mom did, now I stand on our front porch when my family drives off, with my tissues in hand, waving goodbye until they’re out of sight, praying, “Lord watch over them.” And I trust that God will keep us connected, no matter how far apart in miles we are.

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town. 1 Samuel 20:42 NIV

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Janet McHenry is a speaker and the author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the bestselling Prayer Walk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She is the host of the Facebook groups Bible Girls 2022, The Walking Club, and The Safe Place Prayer Group. A writing coach, she hosts the Sierra Valley Writers Retreat several times yearly and can be contacted through her website:

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3 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. I used to bowl weekly in a league with my mom. One day I dropped her off at her house and she said, “When will I see you again?” I replied, “Mom, isn’t it ever enough? I see you at least once a week.” And she cheerfully said, “No, it’s never enough.” That miffed me but guess what? I want to say the same thing to my kids and their family. Never Enough! So how wonderful that God says “never enough!” to us. Of course, He is with us all the time. So thank you, Janet, for promoting my reflections about my mom. She is with the Lord now so I miss her.


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