This is a letter my dearest in the world friend gave me the last time I saw her. Four weeks ago, December 18, 2011.
There it sits. Pristine. Unopened.
I couldn’t open it the last evening we were together with our families in St. Louis because I would cry. We both knew it would be a long time before we’d see each other again. So I saved the letter to open it later.
“We’ve been here almost a month, and you’re handling this move really well,” said my husband last week. “You’re not crying.”
No, I’m adopting the Midwestern attitude. Putting my head down to forge a life on the prairie. Onward and upward. Just. Work. Harder.
If I open that letter, I’ll disintegrate.
I’ll cry big tears when I think of all that’s been lost. At the same time, in front of me stands so much that’s been gained. The gains hold the tears at bay in a bittersweet tension.
Before we moved, parents from our son’s class at school had a going away party for us. My son asked why they were having it.
“Is it a birthday party?” said my seven-year-old.
His friend, whose family was hosting the event, was with us that day. “No,” he said. “It’s a you’re-going-away-forever party.”
I intervened. “We’re not dying. We’re only moving.”
But moving is a sort of dying. All changes are. A beloved Bible teacher of my past used to say we first experience change as loss.
We held it together, as did most of our friends, through our goodbyes. Then there was that moment the day I rushed to the groomer’s to pick up the dog.
We wanted to have Ella groomed one last time before we moved. As I paid the sweet shop owner, told her goodbye and thank you for all her years of service to us, she began to sob.
“We’re really going to miss you and Ella,” she said.
Fear shot through the muscles in my face. Confusion billowed up in my brain. Not the groomer. She just couldn’t lose it. No, no, no.
“There’s something about those terriers,” she said and boohooed some more.
“We’ll miss you too,” I said helplessly. “I don’t know how we’ll ever replace you.”
And we won’t. We’ll find another groomer. We’ll find another salon, dry cleaner, church, and circle of friends.
Another, but not a replacement.
That’s what I tell myself to keep from opening that letter. At least for now.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 NLT
Me, I’m a part of your Circle of friends. By Edie Brickell.