For us though, as for my lovely daughter-in-law’s parents, there is the heartache of no longer having them close by. Of not being able to call them for a random gossip, or pop in when we happen to be passing, or plan who was bringing what to our extended family Sunday dinners. Worse, being here in Tonga meant Jas and I couldn't even say a proper goodbye - though knowing how embarrassingly weepy I would have been it was probably for the best!
Way back when I was just eighteen I signed up to serve in the Royal Navy - or the Women’s Royal Naval Service as it was back then - without a backward glance. That my mum and dad might be heartbroken, not to mention worried sick, as I left home for the first time wasn’t even a consideration! Nor was it when I went out to Gibraltar to live, though by the time Jas and I and the kids came here to New Zealand, maturity and life experience meant I had a far better idea of what mum was going through as we drove away from her house after saying our last goodbyes.
Boy, do I fully sympathise now!