Friday, 9 October 2015

Why Ella and I never say goodbye

Goodbye is a word that Ella and I no longer use. I think the last time I can definitely remember using it was on our final day at the Children's Home when we "timed out" from Care at 18. That was a day that neither of us will ever forget and some years later I wrote a poem about how Ella and I felt that Friday. It was a weird tradition at the Children's Home that anybody leaving had a formal goodbye speech and final message from the Manager during their last breakfast. Just so unpleasant for most of those involved!

Our last day 

The long restless night is over – the Home begins to stir.
To stir, to wake with long familiar sounds. Voices, water rushing through the pipes. But no rushing for us today. A Friday with no rushing? How strange.
Strange is not the proper word. Our last day here. Today we’re moving on. Moving on and moving out. The Queen is dead – long live the King.
Big Al is King now. The oldest and toughest one left now we have gone. Will people know or care that we have gone? Off to our council flats.

Not a flat as was agreed but separate flats. Well away from school and here. Separate flats how cruel. For 40 months we lived as one. No more. 

Breakfast – our final meal. Now we’re separate from the rest, apart, special. 

The cook, for years our special friend, comes to say goodbye. Sadness visits us. Sadness as we look around, faces, names, stories from our past. Vanishing. 

Our past? The Home is in our past. Bags are packed and goodbyes said. The Home is quiet but school is noisy now. We wait for our promised lift. 

So much we were promised. All packs of lies. They told us what we want to hear. 

The car. Pack our lives into the car. Then a last look around, the Home is not our home. 

A wave. A tear. A short car trip - a silent, sad car trip. Two separate flats for us. 

Two lives were one, then two again. How cruel.
We don't like the word "goodbye" because it seems so final. Almost as if you don't expect to see the person again. Permanent separation from family or other people that you have grown fond of can be a too familiar part of life to foster children and "goodbye" feels like part of that.


  1. My heart just breaks for you both. The fear and anxiety. The lack of support. Not knowing what would happen. Being torn from each other. It's not how it should be. The system should take better care of its fledglings for you are all our tomorrow. Xxx

  2. The little ones I foster don't like to say 'goodbye' even at their young ages - already the word is so loaded for them. This post was heartbreaking.

  3. Thank you both for posting. It was a difficult time for us being timed out of care while we were both still at school.