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06-12-2003 @ 7:35 p.m.
The Talk

I've been avoiding the topic of Stacey moving to Bend for months, now. I guess part of thought that if I ignored it, it wouldn't happen. Well, it's definitely happening. And it could be happening within the month. Ouch!

Since Christmas and the big announcement that they were planning to move, I've felt a separation from Stacey. I haven't felt free to talk to her about it, ask questions, talk about my feelings, our relationship. It has seemed at times like she's already gone--we'd go days, sometimes weeks without seeing each other or even talking to each other. She didn't tell me about progress being made or career plans that they were working through. She'd give me snippets here and there but I felt like she was shutting me out, prematurely separating, and it was breaking my heart. There was just so much distance between us that I was feeling very sad and lonely about her and our friendship.

Finally, last night, after bookgroup, we came back to my house to look at something and starting chatting at 11pm. During the course of our conversation, I was able to ask questions about exactly why they were moving and confess my feelings of resentment toward her husband for so totally disrupting my life without even consulting me about it. ::wry g:: At one point, I just stopped talking and she said "It seems like you want to say..." And then the dam broke and I was able to tell her about all the feelings that have been roiling around in my brain. We cried and hugged and talked about our fears and hopes and concerns. It was so carthartic--we both sobbed for a long time. But in the end we were able to reaffirm our friendship and our love and affection for one another. I was able to say the silly, scared things I was feeling, like that she would find a new best friend or would adopt my sister (who lives there) as her new best friend. Or that she would just disappear from my life. And she was able to tell me how she felt uncomfortable talking about the move with me because she thought it would hurt me to hear her talk about it. I assured her that it hurt much worse to feel shut out rather than to be a part of the move and the change.

It felt so good to tell her all the things that have been weighing me down and worrying me. I just feel so much happier. Our friendship will survive this separation and we will still be best friends--sisters, even--despite the distance. I needed that so badly. I needed to be assured that she wasn't "breaking up" with me, as I had been feeling but that she was trying to preserve my feelings by not rubbing my nose in all the changes. When she left at 2am, I felt like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I felt so happy that I wanted to cry all over again, but these were happy tears. Or at least bittersweet tears.

It's hard to think about my life without Stacey as a daily part of it--without her to shop with or to take Joey or to be involved in our activities--the festiv@l of trees or the big tea party or the pag@n springtime ritu@l, beach trips, vacations. She won't be able to participate in all of these things but she'll be able to participate in some of them. And we'll spend weekends at each other's houses. I said, "If I put a sign on the guestroom that says 'Stacey's Place' will you come and use it?" She laughed and promised that she would. I think we'll be ok. And I also think that we'll live near each other again, whether it's here in Portland or in Bend. I just feel so much better--our friendship and affection is as strong as ever. In fact, I think it's stronger than ever because we were able to be honest and open. Perhaps this will herald a new phase of openness. Not that we haven't been open, but we've sometimes avoided topics that we thought might be painful (like the move).

So onward we go. Things will change and life will be different but we'll learn and grow and that's what life is about, isn't it?

--L

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