Goodbye my friend

On Christmas Eve 2004, just as it was going dark, there was a knock at our door. We had been in our new house just three days. There stood a tall, pretty lady and a pretty little girl, the spitting image of her mum. They’d brought us a plant to welcome us to the neighbourhood. They weren’t the first, but they were the first people under the age of 60 and the first people I hoped could become friends.

A few days later, I knocked on their door. I discovered the little girl was exactly a year older than my son and they had a baby boy, just 10 days younger than my baby boy. We made arrangements to get together a few days later.

From there, we became great friends. We spent much of 2005 together. In many ways, they were the opposite to me – open and friendly and welcoming. I like to plan and arrange things, they just liked to do things. We went round to them for barbecues and they came round to us for barbecues. And the dads became friends too – standing at the barbecue chatting with a beer in hand.

The kids got on so well together. At one barbecue they all got covered in paint and talcum powder. There was talcum powder all over the house too. I would have freaked, but my friend took it all in her stride – she liked to encourage craft and messy play. All four kids were dumped in the bath together to get cleaned up.

I’d never had a friend like her before – a friend whose house you could just wander into without knocking. It was lovely to have someone like that so close by. She was one of the first people I told about my pregnancy in 2005 and she became my daughter’s godmother a year later. We had the sort of relationship where we might see each other three times in one day and then not again for several months. It didn’t matter.

They were always impulsive and enthusiastic. They decided to do something and they just did it. I would plan for weeks and months – and often decide not to do it anyway. They were always in love with the sea and would often think about moving there. But as autumn drew in, they would realise how much they loved their house, our village and our town and they would stay.

They had so many friends here. Everywhere she went she made friends. She has such an open way about her, people were drawn to her. I don’t know how she made time for all of her friends, but she did. And she made every one of them feel special.

The kids became great friends. The two younger boys would play computer games or play outside on scooters and with the football. He was a member of my son’s football team too and they played in defence together. His dad had helped my husband out with coaching a few times and was going to do more this season.

But the best friendship of all was between my eldest and the little girl, now a feisty 13 year old. It shouldn’t have worked. Boys and girls of that age aren’t friends. And girls certainly aren’t friends with boys a year younger. They went to different schools too.

But their relationship was special. They could spend hours together just talking. My son talked far more to his friend and her mum than he ever talked to us. Lately they’ve been crafting together. She is endlessly creative and has taught him how to make tiny animals with beads.

I took a photo of the two of them before they set off for Scout camp. When I looked at that photo, I realised something. She was his best friend. After his best friend from school moved away, he never really found another friend. There are other kids at school, but none of them are really close friends. I realised his best friend had been there along. Just because she was a girl, a year older and from a different school didn’t mean she couldn’t be his best friend.

They went away for a two week camping holiday by the sea a few days before we set off for Padstow. They got back two days after we did. My husband and kids were out in the road when they got home, so they stopped for a chat. I was inside putting washing away and didn’t go outside. I thought my friend would have plenty to be getting on with, just like me.

‘They’re going then,’ my husband announced when he walked in.

They’d fallen in love with the sea again. But this time they really were going. Later in the autumn, or maybe the new year. I assumed. But they’re them and I’m me. I would need to plan, they just get on and do things.

I kept thinking I must pop round and see them, but I was at work and looking after the kids. The kids saw them, but I didn’t.

Then my mum saw them.

‘They’re starting the kids in their new schools next week.’

Next week?! They were moving in time for the start of term! I couldn’t believe it, I wandered around in a bit of a daze.

On Saturday morning at 7am I looked out of the window and saw them drive away to their new life. I shed a few tears. For me and my son.

He’s lost another friend to the sea. How unfair is that? Two best friends move away to live by the sea in the space of a year. It hasn’t sunk in for him yet, I don’t know when it will. Their house was somewhere he could relax and unwind. What will he do now? We will see them again, of course we will. But we won’t just be able to pop round and the kids won’t be able to play together in the road.

Goodbye my friend.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh no that’s so sad. Like you it would take me months or years to move like that, how did they manage to do it so quickly. I’m sorry for you and your son it must be hard to lose such good friends.

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  2. What an amazing friend. She sounds so lovely. I’m sorry for you and your boy though. You both sound like you had a brilliant connection with them. Do you think one day you might go live by the sea too?

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  3. Losing a friend like that is very tough, moved away from my good friend two years ago and still miss each other like crazy. But we visit, we facebook and (shock horror) we actually chat on the phone…

    I hope you all keep in touch x

    Thanks for linking up again with the #mondayclub

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  4. Your friend may not be right near your physically but I am sure she is next to you and on the phone if you ever need her.

    I know how you feel as my friend moved all the way over to Australia – sending you a hug x

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  5. Oh, that’s sad. Thank heavens for modern technology! It won’t be quite the same, but is the next best thing!

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  6. I too am like you and like to plan and organise whilst feeling slightly envious of the people who just decide on something and just do it. Am so sorry for your son and you as it sounds as if you both had true friends x

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  7. She sounds great – I would like a friend like that. For us planners, spontaneity is heady draw – it intrigues us and fascinates us. You don’t mention whether she took time to tell you herself and chat through the changes. I hope so. I hope you find a way to keep that friendship going. I live 90 miles away from my dearest friends and it’s not easy but we make it work.

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  8. I am sorry to hear that. Maybe you could start planning a holiday to go and visit them by the sea.

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  9. awww honey, how gutting for him. I am sending massive hugs to you all. Friends like these are few but i have no doubt you will have some again.

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

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  10. So sad, the draw of the sea…and always tough to lose a close friend close by. Hoping you’ll get together in new ways and discover someone/something new to fill the gap.

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  11. very sad, she sounds like a wonderful friend.. i hope you all get to meet up soon xx

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  12. Sorry to hear that; it’s always tough when a friend moves away. I remember being beside myself when my best mate moved to Australia and still feel sad thinking about it – even though he came back a year or two later! I hope you all stay in touch.

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  13. So sad ..
    I hope you’ll have many happy holidays with them.
    Nothing can replace the close ness of a friend being only seconds away x hugs

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  14. Oh hun – that is so sad. With you by his side, I am sure your boy will be just fine. I wish him all the luck and laughter going xxx

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  15. That’s a hard thing to deal with at any age – we need as many friends as we can get! I’ve often felt guilty for frequently moving with our girls and making them say goodbye to friends but they have maintained a few special friendships, become excellent penpals and we’ve treasured every visit even if few and far between. Hope your boy manages to keep in touch. Helen

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  16. What a beautiful post but oh so sad 🙁 I didn’t realise you were that close. I feel sad for you too….did you not want to say goodbye? We’ve had many friends move and it’s tough but somehow life goes on and other people fill the void….almost….but never completely. x

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  17. What a sad but lovely post – i guess you were so lucky to have such good friends on your doorstep but it must still be very hard to lose them. Hope your son is ok and they keep in touch x

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  18. Awww that is sad for both yourself and your son. I’m sure you will keep in touch as they sound like amazing friends but I do know that it won’t be the same as having them within walking distance.

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  19. That’s so sad. Friends like that are hard to come by. I really do hope you stay in touch x

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  20. Bugger, I left a comment this morning and it vanished- bloody phone! But it basically just said what a lovely and sad post about friendship. My best mate moved away 8 years ago, but in may she came back- hoorah!!

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  21. Wow! Such a lot of comments! Thank you all very much, I really appreciate them.
    It’s good to know your friend came back, Sonya!
    We will stay in touch and we will certainly visit them, which will be lovely. I can’t see myself making another friend to take her place though, making friends isn’t really my strong point 🙁 Plus we live in a village full of old people, so old people will almost certainly buy their house – and ours too when we move down the road!
    I had a chat with her, Suzanne, but didn’t properly say goodbye. I know they will be coming and going for a while as they have to sort their house out, so they’ll be back a fair bit.
    There’s no way we will move to the sea, Tas! I live in the village I grew up, I couldn’t even think about moving to another part of town!

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  22. How sad. My best friend moved to America when I was 7 & I was lost.
    I moved schools twice myself, the last time in Y8 & it was hard but you get there in the end. Friendships change. I hope he’s not too sad 🙁 x

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  23. How sad. My best friend moved to America when I was 7 & I was lost.
    I moved schools twice myself, the last time in Y8 & it was hard but you get there in the end. Friendships change. I hope he’s not too sad 🙁 x

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  24. How sad! Lovely to have a friend like that for both of you. Hope your son isn’t too upset. x

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  25. That’s so sad, but I do understand. After 12 years living on the French Riviera we decided to move on the 18th June and arrived back in the UK on the 19th July, having found temporary homes for our dog and cat, sold most of the contents of a 4 bedroom apartment, sold a car, closed down a business, cancelled contracts, a tenancy agreement and work contracts. It can be done, but it’s a bit crazy! I really hope you all manage to move on, in one way or another.

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  26. Thanks very much, everyone. My son is OK at the moment, not sure when it will hit him. But it never really hit him when his other friend left either – it just left a little dent that he was hardly aware of, but I could see.
    Franglaise Mummy – am amazed that you could sort all of that in a month! That is amazing!

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  27. Oh gosh, what a gap that will leave. On the on hand I envy their ‘just go and do it’ attitude and on the other I feel so sad for you and your son. Hope you are both OK. xx

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  28. Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry to read this and it makes my feel so sad too because we were the friend when we upped and left Ireland. Madam still misses her friend there, they almost could’ve been twins with their golden red hair – they were as close as sisters seeing one another every day from toddlers because we lived in the cul-de-sac. I often get notes from Madam warning of her move back to Ireland as soon as she’s able.
    E and her older sister were friends too exactly the way you describe and although he rarely shows any sign of missing Ireland it was only the other day sat with me at the computer and saw her photo and said “Mummy I loved L didn’t I” – my heart breaks, they may never have those bonds again in their childhood yet I broke them.
    Try to stay in touch, we’ve been really bad 🙁 xx

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  29. Aww Sarah,sad to lose a great friend, a good true friends are hard to come by, hope you get to stay in touch loads..

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  1. The Gallery: The great outdoors (Weymouth) - Mum of Three World - […] the weekend, we visited our lovely friends, who moved away and (let us use their house for a few…

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