At the beginning of this year my best friend went to Australia. I blogged about it then, when we knew she was going. You were all so kind, since many of you had shared experiences, and were perhaps blogging as part of that very reason. So many of you are far from where your friends and family live. I thought I'd do an update on how I have found it.
Well it has been crap! Really crap! I can't say I am depressed, as I know I'm not; but it has been like a grief. Not a real grief as we talk and email, but a real grief in that I have lost a lifestyle and nearness that I had with her. I lost the outlet for my gardening/craft conversations, and I lost that feeling of how much she enjoyed being there. She really enjoyed me (weirdly).
Generally she came to my house on a Saturday, not every Saturday, but when it suited us both. She would struggle in with her two boys and her M&S 'bag-for-life' bags, full of interesting things for lunch and a treat for the kids. The kids would head off to play and we drifted between the kitchen and the table at our big window. The cafetiere got a bit of hot action and it was coffee and green tea (usually alternating) with some ginger or flakemeal biscuits. I would have a pile of magazines/books from the library/ Amazon to look at, and we would peruse pages of crafts and vintage stuff for quite a while. A lot of the times I had made chicken and veg soup, so we would get that organised and my husband would come in for lunch. A bit of banter would start, and they would spend lunch-time catching up. Invariably there were rolls with ham, and hummus, rocket and olives.
Sometimes we did craft in the afternoon, sometimes we just sat and chatted about clothes/ what we would buy for Christmas/ what would we plant next. A lot of plans. Just a very normal friendship.
Saturdays have been the hardest. I have never really enjoyed Saturdays at our farm. My husband always works and I felt trapped (with the children), even though I was free to do whatever I wanted (with the children, and they were all quite young then). Saturdays were often quite boring days where I would try to do a bit of housework, do some messages, and I ended up feeling they were sort of non-days. But if my friend was coming, or if I was going to see her, there was a warmth about Saturday. I knew I would be talking about crafts and veg growing, etc.
So Saturdays returned to what I had before, except there was an even bigger gap. My other friends generally do family stuff on Saturdays, so it doesn't feel right to get involved with that. When I think about those first few months, it was all a bit bleak. Thursday night craft nights were great in some ways but she wasn't there either. And there is that feeling too that I shouldn't be feeling this way. Nobody was dying, I was still in touch with her; and that niggling feeling that I might just be being a bit pathetic about the whole thing.
Even worse was knowing what she was going through, coping with the move and having no time to catch up with friends in Australia, or to make new ones. Even if I got an email a week it felt sporadic, as I was desperate for news. And we were both so sad. It was much worse for her though. Leaving her whole life behind.
I do have some really good friends, and it took a while to realise that I could get a fix of bits and pieces from various friends. Craft and black humour from my lovely neighbour friend, general warmth and laughter from another local friend, shopping-talk and quirkiness from my Canadian friend....and so on. Meeting some of my childhood friends too over the past year has reminded me of that lovely feeling of history. I have enjoyed that.
However, I still find myself driving to work a bit tearful as I have seen a car similar to my friends, I still check my inbox every day. I desperately miss her saying 'well hello there'.
I love Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
But I hate Saturdays.
Except last Saturday, when we went to Glenveagh Castle in Donegal on our 12 year wedding anniversary. That is where the outdoor photos are from. Aren't they just fabulous?
I have to credit my hubby for being so understanding this past year. There were lots of very long hugs and wet shoulders! Excuse the red eyes in the photo above, I just couldn't be bothered to edit it when I discovered it needed it. Not from crying though, so at least there's that!
So I am appreciative of what I have got, and more importantly, of what I have had, as those memories are so precious now.