Why It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye: When Your Best Friend Moves Away

When I arrived here, you were one of the first faces that warmly welcomed me and invited me into your home for coffee one afternoon (I never mentioned that I am not a coffee drinker). I noticed right away we had daughters who were close in age. Without knowing me well, you invited me back--with my messy daughters--to celebrate your little one’s 3-month birthday milestone. Your carefree attitude and open home brought joy into my displaced-self as I was trying to navigate a new baby, a one-year old, a new home, a new culture, and a new way of life. You immediately reminded me of my twin sister, who has a similar profession and outlook on life, and I knew a friendship that I so desperately needed was soon to be had.

Over time, as all relationships do take time, you became someone with whom I shared my hopes, thoughts, fears, tears, and silly mistakes. There are the kinds of friends that you talk about shopping, travels, food, and other idle chit chat, and then there are those friends who become your family, and you share life’s celebratory moments with them, along with the major holidays, and your “talking” extends beyond words. You can say nothing at all, but have said everything just by offering a shoulder to cry on, or showing up with a birthday cake and candles when my husband is away on my birthday just because you get it--being alone on your birthday stinks!

So these are few reasons why it hard to say goodbye to a friend like you:

1.  Distance separates. 
Lets face it, as much as I would like keep everything exactly the same, even with Facebook and Instagram, time and distance just doesn’t allow for things to remain status quo. Nothing can replace just “being together,” but I know when the rare moments (being honest, 6 time zones difference isn’t going to allow for frequent visits) come of us visiting, we will pick up right where we left off like time hasn’t changed a thing.

2.  You are more than just a phone call away now. 
When I am in a dire situation (and believe me, more of these situations are sure to exist than I want to be had), and I need some help, you are the person I reach out to. I can’t just call on anyone when it’s a crisis in the middle of the night and I am alone. Like, when you are so sick you aren’t physically able to mother your own children and need someone to rescue them, you come with a helping hand and the good stuff…medicine...whether is 11 a.m. or 11 p.m.! Or when I am faced with an emergency and the hubby can’t make it as I sit in the ER with both girls, and you send your hubby to take the younger one (because you are sick), and he helps me process everything that is taking place so I can give my full attention to the older daughter as the doctor stiches her finger back together. The question now is: Since you have moved, who am I going to call when the that time comes in the middle of the night to go the hospital for baby #3, and I need somewhere for my others to go cause they aren’t going to the hospital with me and the hubby??

3.  You are taking a little bit of my adventuring spirit with you. 
You are always up for traveling somewhere new and having unique experiences and getting me out of my rigid routine to which I so desperately cling. You have taught me that spontaneity is a good thing, and to worry a little less about having my house neat and tidy--after all, there is an adventure to be had outside at the CUBO this afternoon. I can hear your voice telling me now that cleaning can wait, and "Let's just enjoy letting the girls play, so we can talk," cause you’ve missed me. And you are always right. It is refreshing and renewing to spend time together with friends, and I have a much better attitude about picking up the house after stepping away from the hum-drum of the normal routine of our day.

4.  My village is shrinking. 
The old adage of it taking a village to raise a child is so true. We need help, advice, and a little reprieve from our mothering duties, and you are always willing to do all of those things for me. You always offer to watch the girls just so I can go to the grocery store in peace or have a date night with my husband or even better yet, a romantic weekend away! There are no strings attached or an expectation of reciprocity. You even call if you are at the store to see if I need anything, just because you are there!

5.  I can be real with you. 
There is always the chance of feeling judged and inadequate when you share your struggles with someone, like when you and the hubby have had a heated discussion and you need someone just to listen. I know I can count on you to be real with me, without feeling criticized or scrutinized. Or, like when I feel like a failure as a mom and/or wife, I know I can be honest with you, and you will be truthful with me, not just sympathetic or dismissive of my internal conflicts.

These are a few reasons why saying good-bye is so hard. I like to think of good-byes as more of see-you-laters; it seems less painful, and I know I will see you again--maybe not soon, but it will happen. I tried to be strong and not cry as I told you and your family bye last night, but I cried most of the way home, as it became a reality that you really were moving. Already, little bits of loneliness fill the gaps now, where last week, we would have been spending time together.

You will be greatly missed, my sweet friend. 

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Do you have friends that have moved? Tell us how you have dealt with these experiences. We’d love to hear and learn from you. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.