My friend Lindsay is moving away tomorrow. When I next hear from her, she will be 1,000 miles distant from me and beginning a new life that I cannot imagine and will not be a part of, except in the most tangential way. So, I am sad.
She has been one of those friends whom I do not see very often due to our often-conflicting, equally-crazy schedules. But our time together has always been rejuvenating to me. We laugh hard, we connect deeply, and we support each other unconditionally. During my divorce, she was one of my vocal defenders, taking to task another friend who thought nothing of publicly disparaging me and my character. Ours has not been a perfect friendship; we have let each other down occasionally, not been the people we aspire to being at times. But I have always known and felt her love and support and it has been invaluable to me.
Last night we had a final dinner together, with our daughters, who have shared their childhoods. I have known her girls for nearly as long as my own. I have watched them grow and received their hugs and their smiles and been special in their lives. I looked around the table and felt my throat closing on the tears that were welling. How could she leave? I don’t want this to end. The selfish part of me wants her to stay, to forgo the wonderful opportunity and fresh start that awaits her in the Pacific Northwest. I want her to be here, for me, for our monthly dinners and margaritas and connections. I already miss her.
But at the same time, I am so proud of her for going. She is taking an enormous leap of faith, jumping into a life that is wholly uncharted. Her family, her marriage, her career will never be exactly the same, and she is too smart to not be a little bit terrified of what lies ahead. I know she will excel and expand and grow and improve in amazing ways, but I also know that no change comes without a price and without a struggle. I hope hers will be relatively smooth and overwhelmingly fulfilling in all the ways that she desires. I just wish I could be there to hold her hand and support her through it.
I understand, in a way that some of her other friends do not, her need to go, to leave this wonderful community in which we live in order to find something new for herself. I have made similar decisions in the past. I have hugged dear friends, wiped the tears from my cheeks, and then turned and gotten on a plane for a journey that would end the chapter we had just shared together. And while I have frequently missed people — sometimes with the most horrible ache in my chest — I have never, ever regretted going forward, following my wanderlust for more, for different, for better for myself. So, Lindsay must go. She must take the leap and see what possibilities await her and embrace the challenges she has been offered.
It is said that at the end of our lives, it will be the chances we did not take that we will regret, not the ones that we did. I happen to believe that.
So, last night after dinner, I hugged Lindsay tightly and wished her joy and let her go. But I already miss her.