Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Goodbye, My Friend"

As I approach my last week working at my NGO, I am filled with mixed emotions and inner turmoil that could only be articulated through this clip from the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons:


Contrary to what you may think, I am both George and Harry in this scene. I am trying to say goodbye, I am fighting to hold on, I am trying to make sense of everything, and I am forcing myself to go.

How this is playing out in reality is that I am actively trying not to go into my center so the staff get used to not seeing me every day (and likewise for me not seeing them), while remaining at my house only a five minute walk away so they know that I am here in the village still if they need me. I am hoping this acts as a buffer or an intermediary situation before the pending departure. I am trying to do what is best but it's hard to know in times like this. I find myself having an internal monologue that sounds like screaming to go into the center then yelling to stay away followed by moans of agony as I fight back the tears.

Slowly pulling back and now, finally, withdrawing has been incredibly difficult because I want to spend every second of my last days here with the ladies. Removing myself from the center forces the staff to try things that they so often use me as a crutch for. There is no ceremonious way to impart all the knowledge so it must just be employed. I know they have learned it all and they need only to stop holding on to me. They will be okay on their own and they need the opportunity to do just that.

All that being said, I have to wonder if my withdrawing now instead of in a week is more for me or for them? Could it be my way of easing the pain on myself and to be able to witness their success first-hand before I go? It does feel better knowing that I could be there in a minute if they need me. In going back to the moment with George and Harry from the clip, it certainly does feel like bringing them to the beautiful place in the forest where they can stretch and go at it all on their own but yet being able to follow their footsteps for a while to see they made it safely out on their own...

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