Saying good-bye was terrible. I sobbed like a baby. I know that I'll see them again, but what makes it particularly hard for me to say good-bye to my mom is that because of visa restrictions on Bangladeshis in Kuwait, she will not be able to come back and visit. It makes me feel a bit suffocated/scared to think that if for some reason I needed her for an emergency, she wouldn't be able to come.
Still, I'm trying to focus on the positive. I got this time with them; they're not that far away. Nowadays with the ease of travel and the different modes of communication, staying in touch won't be an issue. I bought mom an iPad so that we can FaceTime - it'll make such a difference!
I also know that it is time for them to go back home. My grandmother (mom's mother) and my mom's only sister are very, very ill. It's important for them to all be together - and I'll be visiting them soon. I'm also happy to know that my brother is there to take care of them.
My father came to Kuwait 40 years ago. He then returned to Bangladesh, married my mom, and brought her here in 1975. This has been home ever since. They've seen this country go through so many changes, particularly the 1990 Gulf War; they've had so many good memories. My brother and I were both born here, educated here, and formed many memories here too. This has always been home for us even though we are not citizens of this country. Still, this was our home away from home where we built a family away from family. I have never lived here without my parents. It'll feel strange. It was so moving that a big group of their friends who have known them since the 70's came to the airport to say farewell. It was touching. It also reminded me that though my parents are not here, there is still a massive support system all around, and that people that have known my parents for 4 decades are still here - and are still part of my family.
Today marked the end of an era.