Things to know:
- My best friend currently lives 1.7 miles from me
- We both graduated!!
- My best friend is moving 170 miles away from me
- I am very sad
Another thing you need to know:
This is no ordinary friend. This is the friend that you run errands with on Saturday mornings. This is the friend that knows your Chipotle order by heart. This is the friend that is the permanent passenger in your car. This is the friend that you automatically buy a second concert ticket for, because you know they’re going to come with you.
This is my person.
But unlike Cristina and Meredith, or Leslie and Ann… This is much more sad and very much more real.
Here are some things to do in preparation of your very best friend moving very far away from you:
30 Days Before the Saddest Day Ever: By now, you know that your friend is moving. You’ve likely set a countdown in your phone. It’s not too sad yet, because 30 days is still very far away, so you’re living in blissful denial of the sadness to come. In the back of your head, though, you know they’re leaving. So you spend as much time with them as you can. You make plans for tomorrow and for the day after. You realize that these next 30 days need to count because they are literally all you have left. This is when you have to see your best friend’s face so often, that you know for sure you won’t be able to forget a single detail of it. You make the next 30 days count.
If you are anything like me and my friend, you’ll have a song that defines your friendship. You’ll think of them every time you hear it. You’ll text each other the lyrics at random times. (Wait, is anyone else this cheesy or just us?)
At this point, you’ll hear your favourite song play as the two of you are running errands and sing at the top of your lungs, trying to ignore the fact that this is one of the last times you’ll be able to sing it together for a while.
(Note: our song is Nightingale by Demi Lovato.)
20 Days before: Have a really big fight about something really small and insignificant. Realize the fight isn’t really about the insignificant thing, but is actually about the fact that you can’t imagine life without your best friend and the panic is starting to set in that they will be very far away (very soon.) This is when you realize that things will not be as easy as they once were, but that your friendship is more important than any insignificant issue that may emerge when you become far-away-friends.
Another thing to know: Whenever one of us is feeling sad, we get in the car and drive to Chipotle and eat burritos and talk about life and friends and boys until we are not sad anymore. This is something that happens very often since we live 6 minutes apart and the nearest Chipotle is also 1.7 miles away from us.
This is one of the things that we will have to do alone from now on and eating a burrito without your best friend sitting across from you is simply just not the same experience.
7 Days Before: This day in the countdown is a sharp and painful reminder that your best friend is going to be very far away very soon. You’ll try not to think about all of the things that you will have to do alone when they leave. Start writing your friend a letter that is so sappy, even you can’t stand it. You’ll put this letter to the side, because writing it out makes it seem so much more real and you have 7 full days of denial left. (Don’t worry, you’ll pick this back up after your friend leaves and it will somehow get even sappier.)
3 Days Before: By now, your friend has packed their room and taken down the photos of you two that were hanging once before. Even at this point, it still doesn’t feel real. Your friend will be saying their goodbyes to their friends and family. You will see social media posts wishing them luck on their new adventures. You’ll have Chipotle together for the last time (for a while.) You’ll go to Target to buy last minute things, and watch as your friend crosses off the last items on their to-do list. You’ll try to prepare for what’s coming, but you probably won’t know how. (Hint: I didn’t either.)
The Night Before the Saddest Day Ever: Everything so far has been leading up to this day. Today is when you have to stop crying and instead, be excited for your friend and nervous and sad (but that’s less important today.)
You will finish packing up the car, take some puffy-faced post-crying selfies, and get into bed knowing that tomorrow, your life will change. You will put Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and pretend that your tears are for whatever pain Meredith is enduring to cover up the fact that you’re just really, really scared.
*** THE SADDEST DAY EVER ***
Today, your friend officially starts moving into their new place in their new home in their state that isn’t the same as your state.
You will wake up really early* and take a long trip and you’ll barely be able to see out of the back seat because of the bags and boxes and pillows and memories behind you.
(*We woke up at 4:00 am. This is when you have to try and remember how much you truly love your friend.)
When you arrive, you’ll see your best friend light up with excitement (and fear) and happiness. This is what makes it worth it. This is when you know that your friend will be okay here.
When they inevitably get whisked away to orientations, or new student programs, you will stay in their new room and finish building the furniture and setting out pictures in their new location. It doesn’t feel like home quite yet, but it will soon.
Between unpacking, building, and decorating, this day will fly by. You won’t look at your phone enough to realize that your “goodbye” is quickly approaching.
When the time does come, it will be just as painful as you imagined. Tears will blur your eyes. You’ll hug your friend and say “goodbye” which you both know isn’t really a goodbye, but a “see you later,” and yet it will still feel like a goodbye to you.
You’ll hug them for as long as you possibly can and then you let go.
Eventually, you have to let go. You won’t want to, but eventually you have to let go and let your friend start over. Let your friend have a new life that isn’t entirely wrapped up in yours.
You will miss them instantly. You will cry on the way home. You’ll eagerly wait for texts and pictures and FaceTime calls to hear all about their new adventures.
When you start to miss your friend too much, here are some things to remember:
You will be okay.
Your friend will be okay.
Very soon, both you and your friend will make new friends. Try to remember that this is a good thing. It may not feel like it, but there is enough room in your heart for a new best friend. Proximity is a part of friendship.
Luckily, it is not the only part.
Change is scary. Moving is scary. Being far away from your best friend is really, really scary.
But your best friend is still your best friend, no matter where they live. No matter how much distance is between the two of you. Remember that you two can survive anything. Know that when you see each other again, you will pick back up right where you left off. Get excited about the new stories and experiences your friend will be able to share with you. Get ready for new places to explore together and new memories to be made, even if they have to happen with a little more time in between than before. Get ready for countdowns, and plane tickets, and the excitement you will feel when making future plans together.
I am reminded of my favourite quote about saying goodbye, said by none other than Winnie the Pooh. I know it’s cliche but hey, I’m feeling pretty emotional right now, so I’ll leave you with this:
How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?