Last week was a killer for me. Not only did I lose my iphone to a pool accident, my car had a lot of issues and my best friend here at Ft. Campbell moved away. We met the summer of 2011 and became fast friends. A few of our boys are best buddies too. I knew it was coming. I knew she would be leaving right when summer started. I really didn’t want to think about it too much because it made me sad, but I knew it was there.
When you are in a Military community, you know people are going to move all the time. Sometimes you find someone, hit it off only to find out they are moving in a few months. This has happened to me several times. But to be able to spend almost 4 years together is such a treat. It doesn’t happen often and I am so happy it happened with us.
But last week I had to say goodbye and it was hard. When it was time to say that last, “see you later…” it seemed a little unreal. Even though I knew it was coming, it was hard to let go.
The last time I said goodbye to a friend like this, I was the one moving. This was the first time I was the one staying and it feels a little different. While she is on to her next adventure, I am still here trying to find my place after she is gone.
I have gone through some stages during the last few months, stages I think anyone who has said goodbye to a dear friend has been through.
Getting the news
This is when you first find out your friend is moving. Their husband got orders. They have an ETS date. They know when they will be leaving the area. You take it in stride. You don’t worry too much about it because it is 3 months, 6 months, maybe a year into the future. You feel like you have plenty of time before you are going to have to say goodbye. Plus, things change a lot. Nothing is certain in Military life until it happens.
It is coming
So your friend tells you they now have a move out date, plane tickets or a range of days they will be leaving the area. This is really going to happen. Your friend is really going to move. This is when you start to worry about life after they have gone. Who will you sit around and talk about everything and nothing with? Who will you call when you need an emergency babysitter? Who will you make plans with when your husbands are both away or working? You start to panic a little at the thought. But still. Since it is still weeks away, you try not to get too sad about it.
The Moving Truck
This is real folks. You see the move with your own eyes. When you walk into your friend’s house you no longer see that couch you used to sit on when you talked about the ills of the world, you see empty spaces and boxes. You see movers and packing lists and you realize that they are in fact actually moving and it will be soon. That they really are PCSing away from you.
You make plans that last week. You want to spend as much time together as possible. You have to work around schedules and you have to remind yourself that this might be the last time you can actually hang out. And then a few hours opens up and you can get together again. Until you know it has to be the last time. You know this because they are leaving the area in a few hours. And while you are hanging out together you realize that it is time to go home and it will be time to say that last goodbye. That moment you have kind of ignored for months is finally here. And you say goodbye or see you later and all the time you had together flashes before you and you wonder where all the time went. You think of the future and how her little two-year old might be a lot older when you see each other again. You think about what life will be like without her around and it hurts a little. You wish her and her family well. You are happy for them that they get to move on to their next adventure.
You will never ever forget about your friend. You will text and email and share photos on Facebook. You will hear about their new life and share more about yours. You will eventually make plans to see each other again, even if it is years in the future. You get to a place where although you miss her like crazy, you accept she is gone and look to move on. You think about the other people in your life and how you still have a good circle around you. You think about how you will eventually be the one to leave, having to say goodbye to many people when that time comes. You think about you are a strong Army wife who has been through worse.
It’s hard to say goodbye to a friend, especially one you were very close to. But at the same time it is something you can deal with and something you can work through.
Have you been through saying goodbye to a good friend? How did you deal with it all?