I've had plenty of people leave me in my lifetime. On the other hand, I've also turned on my heel and left many others behind too.
That's the way life goes, eh? No one really stays still for long. We're all seemingly here for a good time, not a long time. So I've learnt to not get too comfortable with the presence of anyone, because I never know when that security will be insecure.
People are fluid in their thinking and the world is so wide. Northern Ireland is so small, and our parochial 'us' and 'them' outlook isn't much of a worldview at all. I understand why people would want to leave. Sometimes anyway. Love, work, the promise of grass being greener - all good reasons to seek new adventures.
But please don't ask me to leave here. Too many roots and not strong enough wings. Happily I can burn bridges with those with displease me, I can live with less friends quite happily. I've never needed a 200 strong posse of people I barely know. I've never been sucked in by that part of the social media bug.
I'm happy to have allies in other countries. Good to visit, good to follow maps, good to learn about. But sometimes people go where I can't visit and where information cannot be followed. Going away to the army, going away to a life of mannish secrets that sound too loud for me.
I've never been close to my extended family. I don't believe blood is thick. But sometimes it is... and I could make a joke here about the thick blood of my siblings, but I won't.... Ha! Anyway, we're going to be down in number come next week and I'm sad. I will miss my brother, and I'm stung when visiting the family we do have and I see them cry for him while he's still stood in front of him.
He might not return. Or if he does he might be held up as a war hero. Who knows, I don't know, and neither does he. Suffice to say that worst thing about being left behind will come into play - he will be different and so will life lived here. We'll all be different and the kids will be totally leaping up their milestones and won't remember someone they once loved so much. Each time will be a re-introduction and I hate that.
I could cry about it now. But then I feel selfish, so don't bother. Also, if I think about the army too much I could cry about lots more than the fact my brother has gone off to join. Abuses, guns, terror.
I haven't asked him how he feels about leaving us all behind. He's following his dream and for that I'm proud. I don't think he feels selfish and I don't blame him for that.
But then who is selfish: the one leaving (possibly never to return), or the one left behind crying about being left? I don't know, although I've been both in my time.
Sometimes a person 'leaving' another by cutting contact can be much more of an abandonment despite geographical location being close. Sometimes a friendly face waiting at the airport in a faraway foreign place can feel so comforting and a small glimpse of home.
We'll offer him home when he returns and hope beyond hope that he does return each time.