Work Stories: Goodbyes: Part One

Saying goodbye triggers me. Even casual work acquaintances that leave, brings a wave of sadness. Only after work, when I’m alone at home, the tears come. It surprises me how affecting goodbyes are. It’s like a surprise attack, when someone you see consistently will soon suddenly be gone. I know this is connected with childhood abandonment but knowing the root cause doesn’t necessarily heal the issue. Sudden endings trigger sadness, it’s an automatic reaction within me.

Familiarity causes attachment, not always but usually. I think good coworkers help to create a positive environment and negative coworkers make the job more depressing. Most of my coworkers are acquaintances only, I rarely see them outside of work so I don’t usually refer to them as friends. It’s odd how much time we spend with essentially strangers. It’s ironic that we see them even more than we do our own families. Our modern world is so crazy; we’re apart from those that mean the most to us and we’re constantly with coworkers that don’t know us and we don’t know them, We do this to pay our bills, mortgages, car loans and groceries for the majority of our lives.

The backstory: I had an argument with my mother one morning before work, (this happened before she was diagnosed with cancer). She suffered with cancer undiagnosed for years, then on top of that, was misdiagnosed. I thought she had an ulcer because her symptoms were exactly like mine when I had one. It’s an unmistakable pain. I cured my ulcer through a high dosage antibiotic but she ignored her symptoms for about 10 years. I repeatedly asked her to go to the doctor to treat her ulcer but my mother is one of the longest suffering people and she’s one of the most stubborn also.

She’s a survivor and is still coping with cancer without chemotherapy. A good friend of hers died of cancer after going through the painful treatment, so my mother refuses it. I respect her wishes and I also feel helpless to do anything, I feel paralyzed with denial. I called her on her birthday and she could barely speak.


  1. And when we’re done with work and the care of our loved ones we spend a little time here, to share the content of our hearts and the events of our lives. I am grateful and glad I got to meet you in this big wide world, Judy Kim. Seoul Sister.

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  2. I cried everytime I leave a job. Tears for my colleagues whom I consider comrades-at-work (or battle).

    Sorry to hear about your mom, Judy. Big hugs.


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