So. Vicki moved. It’s hard to put into words all of the emotions I have experienced in the last seven days since she and her family drove out of town. I knew the day would come. We had talked about it, I told people it was happening, and I thought I had prepared for it – in fact, I had almost talked myself out of it being a big deal at all. “She’s just moving to Michigan,” I told myself. “She isn’t going to Thailand, yet.”
I helped her pack on the Friday before she left. There hadn’t been too many opportunities to help before that due to our conflicting schedules, my constant and comfortable state of denial, and my need for childcare, considering that my youngest would sabotage any progress we’d potentially make.
As I helped her pack, I found myself feeling a strange mix of emotions. I felt nostalgic as I packed things I remembered purchasing with her on one of our many shopping trips. I felt heartache as I listened to our kids play together and as I tried to absorb the sounds as much as possible, knowing that those sounds will be different at the end of three years. We laughed at my inappropriate labeling and other comments that were made, but then I felt sadness as I thought about how deeply I will miss making her laugh.
After we were done packing her kitchen, we decided together that we wouldn’t say goodbye in person before they moved to Michigan. It’s just too hard. So, on Sunday afternoon when she called to say they were driving north, the empty loneliness hit hard. I felt such deep, deep sadness. It was the end of a chapter for us. I know she only moved to Michigan, but in that moment, she may as well have moved to Thailand because the changes for me start now. I can no longer call her spontaneously from work and say, “Hey – let’s meet for lunch in 10″ and know that she’ll be there eager to pick up from where we left off. On days when I work in the girls’ school, I won’t be able to stop in and say hi. On a day when I’m feeling down or frazzled, I can’t call Vicki to let her know that the boys and I are picking up donuts and heading her way for a play-date…or as I call it, “a last-ditch-effort-to-cling-to-sanity-because-my-children-are-driving-me-nuts date.” She won’t be stopping in to see the boys on her way to get her hair cut and the days of impromptu shopping trips are done for the time being.
Change is never easy and I realize there are far more tragic experiences that can be had than this. But, this…this is hard. We will see Vicki, Conrad, and the girls several times before the big move across the ocean. For that, we’re all thankful. I am surrounded by friends whom I dearly love, but my heart is adjusting to living in this big, lonely, Buckeye State all by myself. Vicki is my people – she knows me and she needed me here as much as I needed her. I feel like a loose end and my poor husband doesn’t know what to do with me. People tell me it’ll get easier and I’m holding on to that promise. But for today, there’s nothing easy about this. Not yet.