I keep reminding myself that goodbyes are hard because we have allowed our hearts to fully invest in the people and places around us.
While many of us go and come, back and forth, from our passport countries to the Solomon Islands, these amazing employees are the glue that holds SITAG together. They are also our friends.
At 7:45 yesterday morning, the first of many people began to drop by the house to say goodbye.
Patson and Judy don't anticipate being at SITAG when we return. Their son, Nathan, called early from their home island to say goodbye to Benjamin.
I was surprised by how hard the goodbyes hit me. Sarah and Benjamin don't anticipate coming back to the Solomon Islands anytime soon, but I do.
We finally got to the airport, and I thought my heart was doing okay. Then Roxanne, my dear friend who is still in the village, found a signal and was able to give me a call. I stood in line at the airport and cried as she said goodbye.
Our SITAG family took a break in the middle of the work day to come to the airport and send us off well.
Oh, how we appreciate that the people we work among are also our friends.
And substitute family, too.
One last group photo, lots of hugs, then we walked through customs. When we finally exited the building and walked across the pavement to the airplane, we turned around and saw a SITAG family on top of the airport, waving for all they were worth.