Goodbye is always the hardest word

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I have to admit that when it comes to being a mining partner, I'm a bit of a fraud. Not only do we have a great 7/7 roster, but Mr Miner drives to work so we don’t lose any days to travelling AND I never have to say goodbye.

OK, so obviously we do have to say goodbye. But Mr Miner starts his shifts on Thursdays when I’m working, so I just carry on as normal. He’s still in bed in the morning when I kiss him goodbye before work, and when I come home he’s gone. Although it’s sometimes a little sad when I come home to an empty house, it’s never as bad as actually having to watch him leave.

He used to work a 4/4 roster, and people thought that should have been easy for me. Four days apart is nothing (and compared to many other mining rosters that’s true) but he always left on a Saturday morning. It was so gut-wrenching to be faced with an entire empty, sad weekend stretched out in front of me.

It felt like being left at the school gates for the first time, or the same feeling as when my parents dropped me at university and unpacked all of my belonging into one tiny room (except without the teenage excitement!) Every other weekend as he drove away, I felt like all the wind had been knocked out of me.

Of course, saying goodbye does get easier as it becomes part of your regular routine (I promise!)

Mr Miner just left for a three-week stint, and for the first time in over a year I was at home when he took off. Amazingly, saying goodbye was fine.

There were no tears, no lump in the throat, no anxiety or that horrible sinking feeling in your stomach. I will admit that I felt a little more melancholy as I drove to work, but perhaps that's just because I  was driving to the office.

No matter how long you’ve been doing FIFO or DIDO, saying goodbye will never be a nice experience (unless they’ve been particularly infuriating while they were home!) but I think the key to making it easier is keeping busy.

So here are some suggestions to make your goodbyes a little easier to bear:

  • Don’t be left behind: don’t go back into the house as soon as he’s left. Instead get ready to go out and leave at the same time as he does. Go and meet a friend for coffee, go to the shops or go for a run, just distract yourself. If you say goodbye at the airport, don’t go straight home. Go over to a friend’s place for a chat or treat yourself to something on the way home.
  • Don’t be alone: arrange for a friend or family member to come over when he leaves.
  • Plan something indulgent that’s just for you: enjoy a long bath and a good book, a marathon season of Gossip Girl or make a delicious meal (with ingredients he doesn’t like). Pick something you love and he hates, so you have a treat ready and waiting when he leaves.
  • Talk to someone. I bet there is at least one dear friend or family member you never have time to call. Arrange a catch-up phone call or Skype chat for just after he leaves, because we all know a problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Arrange for him to call when he gets there: yes, it is horrible to say goodbye, but you’ll be hearing his voice in just a few short hours.

More from Sarah:

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