I have discovered that the real pain of saying goodbye is not the leaving but the sad expectation of returning to nothing.
At times in our marriage I have bemoaned H's lack of excitement when I come home. She normally did not see me off in the morning nor throw herself at me when I returned. But at least she was there and whenever I was away I could look forward to being home again. On business trips, the evenings were always the worst. Being alone. Now home has become merely a house and every departure is a reminder that there is no wife to return to. I return but am still alone.
Juliet was right to say "Parting is such sweet sorrow". For lovers, the sorrow of parting is the seed that promises their re-embrace. Without the parting there can be no joy of returning. The parting creates a delicious glow of anticipation. But for me, goodbyes are now empty of any sweetness.