Above: Some photos from many years of friendship in no particular order.
Today I had to say goodbye to a best friend, as she is about to embark in a new life across the world and beyond. While my heart aches for this, I am mindful of how good of a change this is. Her journey and life is her own. And this is the scent of a life that is free. I am mindful of the bucket loads of wonderful, cherished friends and family Caleb and I have that remain here. Still, the ache in my heart today is produced by a life change brought on by a cherished ones departure, one whom I have been deeply blessed to share life with for so long. Words, as wonderful as they are, barely do her leaving justice.
Caleb and I met her at the park by her house. We have done well with all this moving talk. Before today, Caleb had only cried once about it. Today I was met with this grief of her leaving as we drove to that park. I tried to hide any sign of crying that was taking place from Caleb as we drove there. He bounded out of the car upon arrival to the park and said, "TRY TO GET ME MAMA!" His joy was good, as it made me swallow my sadness. I kept watching for her trusty white Jeep to enter the parking lot and join us.
By the time she got to the park, I was back to normal, no emotion to boot. We hung out and talked as usual, as if nothing was out of the norm. Caleb played, urging us to join him. This time we sat back on the bench together and waved him along to play on his own.
Eventually the inevitable time came. Caleb doesn't like goodbyes and usually avoids them until the person is gone, at which time he panics and rushes after them for a goodbye. Sometimes he doesn't catch them in time and has a moment of sadness. This time, he was really not having it. He said goodbye as he played, but I made him go and give her a hug. I walked her to her Jeep, and finally Caleb couldn't help but follow. He wasn't down with what was going on. He eventually gave her some big hugs, and was so somber about the whole thing. We watched her drive away together, and held each other and cried.
There are some people who walk in your life and stay awhile. They are good folks, people you are glad to know. People who might even inspire you or brighten your outlook on life. But Jessie, Jessie made her home into our hearts. She made her home into our family. I could tell countless stories of what a true, trusted friend she is. I could tell memories of her many quirks and oddities and the hundreds of stories we share. I can't tell you how dear to us she is. How dear to me she is. I think this is evident by the fraction of what you might see here in this space, or in my life, if you know me at all.
Many years ago in school, we ended up in the same class. We avoided sitting next to each other in class until it happened on the second or third day, and we have no choice but to give each other a chance because we had to. I thought she was weird. She thought I was stuck up. All it took was that one day of sitting by each other in class. We talked and we were instant friends. We have been the dearest of friends ever since. It is not a question as to wether or not this was a God thing. It was. She is and has been one of the greatest and richest blessings of my life. This, I surely attribute to God.
We lived life sharing a physical space for many years, and our teamwork as roommates, friends, and even coworkers was seamless and evident. As I became a mom, our lives turned and our friendship moved out of the physical space we shared and into living life side by side, as she lived freely, and I did the mom thing.
As our lives are to be split apart and she journeys to the land of Oz, I am mindful once again, of how we each must live our own lives. I am crazily blessed to have had her by my side all these years laden full of rich, good friendship. I am blessed that she and Caleb love each other so. And Caleb and I are blessed that we have had someone so dear to cherish (and praise be to God, we have many such people to love). It is because of how precious she is, we cry today. It is because she has been more of a member of this sisterhood and pseudo aunthood than a just a friend. It is for this reason that we bid her farewell today with a bit of a heavy heart.
She is deeply, wonderfully, positively loved, that Jessie. And I thank God, the creator of life and the source of love, for her.
As I said, we each must live our own lives. And by and far, I support her wonderful fragrant of a life, wherever it takes her. Even if it means we are in distant lands under the same moon. Even if it means our lives are no longer to be lived side by side anymore. Even if it means we no longer share the life space we once did for so long. It has been a deep joy in my life, in both of our lives, to call her our friend. And while goodbyes mean a sad (although good) change sometimes, I know that this is right. I know this adventure of hers must call her name, and that she must answer. I also know that it is more likely than not, that she wont be back, which is actually why it is so hard. She might live in another country for a bit after her year in Australia, or she may move to another state in the Northwest here in the USA after her time in Aus. Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, while our friendship as transitioned and changed as I became a mom and she lived as a free spirit, this chapter of our lives and friendship has ended.
While driving away in the car today after leaving the park from our goodbyes, Caleb said to me in his tears and sadness, "But mommy, why can't we have a space for her here? Maybe Aus wont have space for her there and she will come back?" I explained to him that there is space, and she must adventure. He asked me about traveling and seeing the world for her and if I would as well, and I told him that I would, but that I have him, and what I do in the here and now, is stay and be his mommy. Part of that is providing for him and working and living this life we have together. He told me, "Mommy, I will just go with you." We will travel together, he says. We will build a tree house out back for Jessie to live in, he says. And what about Jessie's furniture, what will she do with her furniture? Surely she will need hangers in her new space, he says. Why must she go? Why can't he see her every day, he asks? Why can't we live near each other there? It is the sound of their bond I hear as he speaks. It is the sound of this change in his and our sadness that I hear. But it is good. She must live, and so must we. And while our stories are now split apart into other parts of the world, we can only now wonder, what is next for us both. Even in the wake of this goodbye, there ought to be a twinkle of excitement to that. I reminded Caleb of his friends and family here to stay, still. He was glad for that, and even told me about more of his friends here to stay, like his bud Jaeyden. Yes, we are richly blessed with people here. But we just love our Jessie. And we will surely miss her in our lives.
Only God knows what is next for each of us. My love for her extends to all the ends of this earth. And she is in my prayer and my heart, always.
Thank you Jessie, my dearest friend. You mean more to me than I could ever say.
Photos from today.