Love Exiles Foundation

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Every time I have to leave you, I leave a piece of me behind

This posting is from a member of our community in Canada:

We live on opposite ends of the continent; me on the West Coast in Vancouver, Canada, and Andrea on the East Coast, in the Boston, MA area. For the past 18 months, we’ve traveled to be together for brief or slightly longer periods of time. She cannot move here, for job and family reasons, and I can’t move there, for *stupid* political reasons.

How we cope? We pretend that I go on long business trips. During shorter breaks in the academic year, she visits her kids on the West Coast, and I get invited, too. In the summer months (last year) we managed to spend 3 months together, alternating our home base every 3 – 4 weeks. This summer… who knows?

How we cope? The traveling has a cost – and not just a financial one, although it does add up when you fly to Boston practically every month. I’m trying to find a steady job here, and when I’m successful, that’s the end of my longer stays there – a long weekend every now and then, and hopefully I can fly her up here for (part of) the summer – at least we’ll have the evenings and weekends.

How we cope? With IM, and Skype, and thoughtful emails. With sappy Hallmark cards. With aching hearts.
How we cope? I wrote this a couple of months ago, and I’d like to share it with others in our situation:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Every time I have to leave you, I leave a piece of me behind.
So far, I’ve left you 9 times in the past year, and
I’ve spent a total of 212 days and nights with you
out of 374 days since our first night together.
That’s almost 57%; just over half my time
has been with you

And each time I have to leave you, I leave a piece of me behind.
I also take a piece of you with me, hoping it will last
until I’m back in your arms again.
Sometimes it does.
Mostly, it runs out a few days before I return
to reunite with the piece of me I left behind

Sometimes, the piece of me I left behind is all used up.
It’s gone. I search for it, in your eyes, in your embrace, in your kiss.
But it’s not anywhere I look; I can’t find it without your help.
And when I need you to show me, to tell me we’re all right, and still whole…
is when it seems hardest for you to do just that.
Seems you’ve lost that piece of me, too.

Sometimes the pieces of me in your care, and the pieces of you in mine
are lost, consumed, faded away – despite our best efforts to keep them safe.
This is an unhappy side effect of leaving all the time.
We can rebuild those pieces, you and I, but starting each new visit
with a deficit means we’re forever playing catch-up;
and while we do grow, growth is delayed, retarded.

This is why I want to stay; why I want to stop leaving.
So we can build, instead of re-build.
So we can walk into a future together, growing steadily as a couple,
instead of two steps forward and one step back
But until we can, I will cherish our time together, and
every time I have to leave you, I *will* leave a piece of me behind.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

At Passover, we Jews say “Next year in Jerusalem”. My fervent hope is, that I can say – soon – “Next year in Boston”.


7 comments on “Every time I have to leave you, I leave a piece of me behind

  1. Stewart
    February 1, 2011

    Wow, your poem… I can’t find sufficient words to express how much it meant to me. It’s as if you had taken the thoughts from my own head, and written them down in black and white.

    • J
      February 1, 2011

      I agree with Stewart. I read this at work and I could not stop the tears from falling down. Thank you for writing, you captured the pain well.

      The whole situation is starting to make me angry enough to do something about it. The US touts equality, liberty, freedom for all, blah blah blah. We are not allowed to love freely and these stories need to come out. I have asked my fiancee to write about us since she’s a writer.

      I am still hopeful, at least Canada will take us…

  2. Emma
    February 3, 2011

    Thanks, Stewart and J., for your kind words – and, to quote the Trevor Project, it *will* get better. Patience is a virtue I’m trying very hard to develop. In the meantime, we try to live each day together as if it will never end, and focus on bridging the times apart, and try to make time go faster. And yes, Canada would welcome you – and I wish that were an option for my partner Andrea, but with family and work ties to Boston, we’re stuck in limbo for now. For now. It’s only a matter of time.

    I hope your situations can be resolved soon – Vancouver, BC has a very active and supportive LoveExiles group – come on over!


    • Jen (the artist formerly known as J)
      February 3, 2011

      Hi Emma! Do you know of a Love Exiles group in Calgary? My fiancee is living there and praying for her PR!

      You are right about patience, I wish I could hurry up and get it already 😉

      • Emma
        February 3, 2011

        Hi Jen,

        No, I am unaware of a group in Calgary – who wants to live in Cowtown, anyway? LOL. As far as I’m concerned, the only livable place (especially in winter) in Canada is Vancouver… Of course, if she’s tied to a job there, she won’t be able to move until she gets her PR – she’s from the US? and you’re from Canada? Or what? Share your story, too!

  3. J
    February 3, 2011

    Hi Emma!

    We want to put up our full story on here later so here’s just a little bit. My fiancee is from the Philippines. She was very lucky to get a job in Calgary and we are praying and hoping she will get her PR. I’ve spent 27 days with her in person since we met online in 2009. Love makes you do crazy things like move to a different country. Not to mention that I don’t like the cold, this should be interesting. I would do anything for my fiancee, I love her more than that much.

  4. Marline Balot
    January 27, 2012

    I just read your poem and can definitely remember that I felt the same way only two and a half years ago. But since I am retired, I have chosen to leave my family in NC and Florida to live with my partner in Australia. It is not an ideal solution. Instead I yearn for my children and grandchildren daily. And Skype only helps a little.
    I read with hope and bated breath of the political wranglings, and hope that I am still alive when the laws are changed. I just turned 68 this month. While I am fairly healthy now, we will become the “aged parents” soon enough and have no idea how we will handle that situation and still be together. EAch trip seems to be more tiring and longer than before.
    If we were younger, as nurses, we could have migrated to Canada. But without working, we don’t have enough points to be considered. Guess we need to check out learning Spanish and consider Mexico.
    Jerusalem is out of the question. We just want to go to America, together.

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2011 by in Uncategorized.

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