When everything you have had faith in crumbles, what do you trust? How do you know life will keep going the way it has, with the people you have shared it with, in the familiar places where you once found comfort?  What do you do when you are forced to say ‘goodbye’ when you are not ready to, when you never should be asked to?

What do you do when all you can think is that life is unfair, and not even unfair, but cruel.

You take a deep breath.  I just did.  I don’t know really what else to do.

I intended to write this blog about letting go in the context of friendships, moving, jobs, and situations; the types of goodbyes that are fairly constant in my life, but this morning, I became aware of other goodbyes, deeper goodbyes, more permanent goodbyes.  When a 25 year old tragically dies in helicopter crash, and another friend calls saying a 20-something in his circle is gone, what can be said?  I bite my lip, because nothing can erase that pain of loss.  Not a hug, not a kiss, not Churchy words of “Well, someday in Heaven…”

Well someday isn’t now-a-day, and it hurts.  Now.

I have been spared, so far, in my life from such deep, permanent losses.  I’ve felt missing, but the loss that surrounds my flight attendant life is leaving, or people leaving me.  But it’s temporary.  It’s breakups that are recoverable in time.  It’s packing boxes, and sending suitcases on airplanes.  It’s saying, ‘See You Laters’ to the people that I meet when traveling.  The letting go of past experiences to embrace new opportunities.

This last week I have sensed a flood of emotion building in me.   The combination of fitful sleep, afternoon flights turning into red eyes, disconnection with friends, and thoughts surrounding moving, have placed me on edge.  An edge of breaking.  I’ve been waiting for the waterfall of tears to surface.  Today,  had I not been at the gym, I would have lost the cover of ‘ok.’  It was a simple quote, words, that chipped away at the tepee of together that I had constructed.   And it was this:

New Beginnings Lao Tzu

Make it stop.  Make the changes, the goodbyes, the see you laters, done.  I don’t like them.  Too many.  Too often.  I’m a terrible flight attendant, because I still have not become immune to goodbyes, to missing, to the emptiness that sinks in my stomach every time I fly away from a place, a person, or a part of my life that I love.  I’m not immune.  I am human, and humanity is not invincible.  We are created for connection, co-existing, touching each other by our presence and spirit.  Without connecting, life would be all empty, not just sometimes empty when we lose pieces of ourselves in goodbye.

The world can be beautiful, and lovely, and full of life, but then there are the days, the moments that rock every part of our core, and we wonder if there is anything constant, stable, and secure that we can believe in.  I was telling someone recently that I wished that I could give them a definitive black and white checklist of my beliefs, my hopes, my dreams.  No. I couldn’t.  I can’t.  Because I flounder in the grey.  The cobalt of questioning.  Faith.  God.  Direction.  Questioning, “Why her? Why now?  Why this?”

Why goodbye?  What is really ‘good’ about a bye?

And I want to end this with a happy twist, bringing the loose ribbon ends together where there can be sense to the ramblings, answers to the ‘why’s’, and comfort for the pain.  I don’t have that.  Today, I don’t know.  Tomorrow, I probably won’t know either.  I don’t have the wisdom, the power, or the energy to understand the purpose of life not being wonderful.  The loose ends may not be able to be bound or bind the wounds.  And right now, all I can think to end with is something Dorie, one of my best friends, said once.  Although, I’m not even sure what it means, it seems appropriate, and sounds wonderful:

“Why are there so many grey areas.  Can we just paint The World pink?”

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

  1. Because you have the typical concerns of a 20-something and are more level-headed than some, let me reply with this. You are still very young and haven’t yet grocked what we all need to learn over time: there is no endpoint to life where you achieve what you said you would, and then you cross the finish line and there’s a big party. As a child you usually knew exactly whether you succeeded or not. Example: get a good grade = success. As an adult you have no clear markers that tell you that you’re smart or worthy or that things are wonderful. The goalposts might even shift on you many times, and illogically. Adjusting to that reality (“but how do I know if I’m doing well or not?”) takes pretty much all of one’s 20s and a chunk of one’s 30s for pretty much all generations of folks in this land of ours. I hope that helps in some small way.

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