Friday, July 7, 2017

I Wasn't There

I move. And I move. And I move. I've moved my whole life. My. Whole. Life.

And every time, I pack up my clothes and my belongings and my memories, and I take them with me. But I can't take my friends with me. You stay.

You. Stay.

And I'm Not There.

I wasn't there when you had your baby. I wasn't there when your baby died. I wasn't there when you tried year after year to get pregnant with no success. I wasn't there when you decided that adoption is how you would build your family.

I wasn't there.

I wasn't there when you decided to leave the closet. I wasn't there when you married your best friend. I wasn't there when you decided your marriage was worth fighting for. I wasn't there when you realized that fighting alone doesn't work and divorce was your answer.

I wasn't there.

I wasn't there when your baby was blessed. I wasn't there when your child had trouble in school. I wasn't there when you had to decide whether your child needed professional help or you could do enough as a parent. I wasn't there when your child was baptized. I wasn't there when your child tried to commit suicide. I wasn't there when your child was diagnosed with an incurable disease.

I wasn't there.

I wasn't there when you were hospitalized. I wasn't there when you took your parent to court for child abuse. I wasn't there when you almost died. I wasn't there when you lost your faith. I wasn't there when you gained yours. I wasn't there when you survived radiation and fought cancer.

I wasn't there.

I wasn't there when you quit your job to stay at home with your children. I wasn't there when you fell in love with a new hobby or learned a new skill. I wasn't there when you finally got your degree. I wasn't there when you found a job that fulfilled you. I wasn't there when you got that promotion. I wasn't there when you changed and grew.

I wasn't there.

For any of it.

At all.

I was over here.

I was thinking of you. Praying for you. Crying for you. My heart breaking for you. Wishing more than anything that I could hold you and strengthen you and love you—not from afar but right in the same room. That I could cry with you and celebrate with you.

And every now and then, I get to go back there. I get to try and see you. And so many of you—so, so many of you—respond to my emails, my texts, my phone calls, my Facebook messages. You take time out of the lives you've built without me, with the friends I don't know and the places I haven't been. And you come to me. You hug me. You love me. You listen to my stories, and you share yours with me. And we're different. But we're also the same.

And some of you don't. Or just won't? Or can't. Some of you don't respond. I open a message to tell you I'm coming and I see that the last four messages over the past eight years have all been me telling you I'm coming and you never responding.

Or you respond, but life is too full. The kids are too needy, or the job is too demanding, or the spouse is too busy, and it never seems to quite work out. I wasn't there, and when I am there, you can't drop everything to see me.

But I still love you so much. The ones who can and the ones who don't.

A piece of my heart is yours. And a spot in my memories is filled with you.

So know that when you read of my adventures and hear tales of my happy, exotic life with the kids and spouse I love more than life, just know, that even though I'm not there, I wish I could be here and there.

Thank you so much, dear friends, for making room in your lives when I can be there.

I hope you know who you are. I love you.


Me, exploring ancient ruins, without you. 
It would have been so much more fun with you!