I had brunch last weekend with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Our schedules aren’t very compatible these days, so when we want to get together, it often takes us a number of tries before we’re able to find a date and time that works for us both. But it’s always worth it once we do.

The first thing we did after we settled in and ordered our food was to bring each other up-to-date on work, family, and other news. When we first start, we often go through a few instances of, “Have I already told you about–?” or “Have I seen you since –?” Just until we get our bearings in relation to the last time we got together or had a long, catch-up conversation.

At one point she asked, almost as a passing thought, “Did I tell you I’m moving?”

“No,” I said. “Where to?”

She’s lived in a few different places in the years since I first met her, and was currently in a rented condo. I assumed her lease was up, and she would be moving to another location nearby. But then she said she was moving out of state.

“Oh,” I said, caught off-guard. “Oh.”

She went on to list her reasons for moving, and they were all good ones. Some had to do with career opportunities, and some with family considerations. I told her I thought she was making a very good and very smart decision, and that I was happy for her – which I was. But that’s not the first thought that went through my mind.

My first thought was of how much I was going to miss her.

That’s totally selfish, of course, but it was there nonetheless.

We talked about that, too – how much we’d miss each other. She has family and a lot of friends here, so I know it wasn’t an easy decision for her to make. We talked about the distance – a drive of just four hours or so – and started talking about road trips and “girls’ weekends,” and the different ways it’s so easy to stay in touch these days.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to say goodbye to people I was really close to – when my kids grew up and left home, for instance, or when our family packed up and moved to different parts of the country – but the familiar feelings came over me again as my friend and I continued talking about her move. I was both excited and concerned for her, thinking about all the new opportunities and discoveries that awaited her, but also of how difficult and daunting it can be to start a new life in a new location. I know she’s up to the challenge, and I’ll look forward to hearing all about her new home, new job, new friends, and new experiences.

And I’ll be here for her – as I am now and as she is for me – in the times of fear or frustration when friends can make all the difference in the world just by listening. That part won’t change, even from a distance, except that the hugs we always greet each other with or support each other with will have to be verbal hugs or cyber hugs now, rather than actual ones.

I think about the family and friends I have in different locations – either because they’ve moved or because I have. Some of the ones I’m closest to even now are the ones who live the farthest distance away. It’s comforting to realize this, especially now as I start preparing to say goodbye to another dear friend. I know we’ll get together a few more times before she leaves, and by then we’ll already be planning what we’ll do the next time we see each other, whether it’s in her new home or when she comes back for a visit to her old one.

Whenever and wherever it is, I know we’ll do what we’ve always done when we get together. We’ll bring each other up-to-date, and get our bearings in relation to the last time we saw each other. We’ll share stories and photos, milestones and memories. We’ll talk about how much we miss each other and how often we think of each other. And we’ll enjoy and appreciate that no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, we can pick up again right where we left off.

And it’s so worth it when we do.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on November 21, 2013.
©Betty Liedtke, 2013

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