today I said goodbye to a friend.
I had to finally do it. She is actually physically leaving tomorrow and I had really been putting it off up until this point. It was one of those goodbye’s I had really not been wanting to face. In fact the reality that it was happening had not even begun to sink in until recently. I would quickly brush by her in the corridor after dropping Iona off for nursery and say hi and a “talk to you more later soon” type thing…and then suddenly realize halfway back to my car that actually…she’s leaving..and I really should be taking every opportunity I have to be with her, but i suppose doing that would mean that it was actually going to happen. It would mean acknowledging the reality, instead of remaining blissfully in denial.
So yet again, I felt a colossal lump in my throat….as she hugged me today I felt a familiar inner fight to stay composed and not let the gush of tears flood out. For saying goodbye to friends is something that never ever becomes easier. With every goodbye, I feel the weight of so many goodbyes I have had to say over my lifetime. I feel it so keenly. It is something that cuts me deep inside. Yet…in the pain, there is this amazingly rich feeling…for to have experienced the friendship…has been such a valuable experience.
When you have had a friend who has been there for you…who you have been able to be honest with…who has appreciated you for who you are, and who you have truly enjoyed spending time with, laughing with, and crying with…you feel as though you are losing a huge part of yourself when they go. I think part of the pain is this feeling that….this friendship is being cut off prematurely…and that it won’t get to continue…and that we will miss out of each other’s lives from now on. Sure we may keep in touch…but what has been up until this point, is ending….and there is a fear that the present reality of our friendship will simply fade into a memory.
I remember my summer mission trips. How at the beginning we didn’t know anyone, but by the end of the summer we all felt like the greatest friends that ever were, or could ever be….we felt a bond so strong, and our goodbye’s were incredibly sad and dramatic (we were teenagers) As I sit here the memories of several goodbye’s are flooding into my mind. I remember how I felt each time….and how sad I was…and I remember the friendship, and what it meant to me at the time. Even though I have had to say goodbye so many times….I would not be who i am today without the friendships that provoked those painful partings.
Some people I have kept in close contact with. Others not. Some friendships were for a season, others friendship could be picked up after years of silence and continued on without missing a beat. Over the years, the circumstances in which friends are made have changed significantly. I know I have changed a lot…the kinds of people I mix with have continued to vary over the years…yet..what hasn’t changed is the feeling I have when they leave, or I leave. That sadness..if anything, it has just become deeper…It’s like a wound that is being reinforced. I suppose it feels like that because so many of my favourite friends have been people i have had to leave, or who have left me.
There is this part of me that just wants to know that I have a few close friends around that will be there for the next 30 years of my life. Friends that will be there day in and day out. Friends I will see nearly every day and hang out with at the weekends…friends who by default…are there. in the mundane, and in the crisis. Certain friends you have love a drama…and will come flying out of the woodwork if they sniff a crisis. They are what I call dramamongers….they are all high drama about things…but once your life gets boring again..they lose interest. Save the drama…I want a friend who will listen to me even if the most interesting thing I have to tell is what I cooked for dinner last night.
So anyway, today I said goodbye to my dear friend Anna-Lisa. I will say that I am determined to make use of modern technology and continue being her friend. In the past I have been the one to mostly do the leaving. So having a friend leave me is sort of a new experience. My heart goes out to her as I can empathize with much of what she will experience in the coming months and I hope to remain a constant available contact, (even though I’m not in the flesh) for her to talk to and vent to anytime. I will enjoy hearing about the little things as well as the big things. I am hugely excited for her new life to unfold for her in China and I look forward to hearing about the new friends she is making. I’m sure she will make many because she is a wonderful unique person.
She has always been a good friend to me..even though in some ways….it’s only been recently that I’ve fully appreciated her. She was one of my first “mummy friends” I watched her breastfeed her third daughter throughout my first pregnancy so she was a great role model in that regard….she normalized it for me. As my own daughter has grown, I have observed the way she is with her own daughters and I’ve been challenged and inspired. She was the first person I told in the Uk I was pregnant with Judah. She has been a good solid all around every day friend, as well as an angel in a time of crisis. I’m very sad to see her go…but I will do my best to hold on tight….because friendships are so valuable…they make us who we are. I would write more about her…but it would make it seem like our friendship is ending…and I refuse to even go there.
Bring on the Skype!