I have been crying. For days. On and off, weeping. Dissonant, desolate and desperate, my skies have gone gray.
I’m not a crier. I normally look at emotional situations and get mad. Hysterical, agitated like a storm churning against the waves. Verbose, demonstrative maybe. A crybaby though, not so much.
One of my closest friends is moving. To Chicago. Next week. I might die.
I’ve been holding off talking about this because the whole thing is too emotional already. I didn’t think it was fair to talk about, because it would upset her more than she’s already upset.
But after last night, I can’t hold it back.
My friend Jennifer moved onto my street, just four houses down, about six years ago or so. Our daughters are exactly the same age. We became immediate friends. It’s challenging to find other mom friends that share the same values, and who are compatible with you in all kinds of ways. And who has nice kids. I know you know what I’m talking about.
She has been with me through my very darkest times, holding the flashlight calmly, talking me towards the light. She held out when I said I couldn’t. She held me up when I couldn’t even identify which way was up. She let me go when I needed to find myself. She roped me back when I needed it. She made me dinner when I couldn’t stomach eating and she always, always had an open door policy for me and for Zoe.
I have known about her leaving for months. I have been in total denial about it. I thought it would be ok. Scratch that. I never thought it was ok. I thought they’d change their minds. I thought it wouldn’t happen. Since that day, I have been stifling back the grief.
Grief is the normal, right? It’s a natural reaction to loss. To some, it’s just a part of life. To some, it’s characterized as pathology – that there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. I don’t know what side of the fence I’m on today?
Jen had a goodbye party so that her daughters could have some closure with their school friends yesterday. It was a lovely, late afternoon party until people started leaving one by one. Some of the kids started to cry, saying their goodbyes. My heart twisted.
I have been worried about Zoe and how she would react. Thus far, she’s been ok. Until yesterday.
As we were walking home, she got on her scooter and said “I’m going to really miss them mom. They’re like my sisters.”
As she zipped past me on her Razor, I burst into tears. And for one long block walk home, I wept like I haven’t in a long time.
I was sorrowful not only for my daughter, but for myself. Before my divorce, my greatest “loss” in the last 10 years was my friend Billy’s death. And I’m not sure I’m exactly over that either. I know Jennifer is not dying, clearly, thankfully, but I don’t have a great frame of reference where type situation is concerned.
I don’t exactly know how to counsel myself or my daughter on how to deal with this. It takes more than a willing heart and compassionate spirit to face difficult life transitions. I am sure that Zoe will be fine. Kids are resilient. I’m not sure I am have the same tenacity? Sigh.
Pity party anyone? I know. I am feeling sorry for myself. Give me a minute to wallow in it. I am feeling sorry for her too. I know that she’s in a wonderfully fulfilling stage of her career, and she’s being uprooted. She has to reinvent her happy in the Midwest, and that’s going to take some time. And work.
I’m having a hard time imagining what it will be like without her. I know that such good friends are few and far between. Especially as adults. I was looking forward to our kids growing up together.
It will still happen, from afar, just not the way I had imagined. We’ll do the best we can to keep in touch over FaceTime, email and occasional visits, but it’s not the same. I’ll miss her for a long time, but I’m trying to stay grateful to have had such a good friend for the last six or seven years.
It’s a rare gift. She’s a rare gift.
I’m lucky to have had such a good friend so close, for so long.
Thank you for such an amazing friendship.