My heart is broken. In the past year, my tribe, my village, my close knit circle of friends, has literally halved. As a South African, I am sure I am not alone in this experience. But it’s hard and it hurts.
At the end of last year, my friend, Kate, the second mom to my children, whom I’ve known since our eldest kids were just 9 months old, emigrated to New Zealand.
This is the woman who came to our rescue when our house flooded. Who brought us a sledgehammer to release the water from our yard, who took my children in, fed them, bathed them, cared for them and loved them, while we worked to clean our house after the floods. This was my friend, who when my husband was being an asshole, I could phone and say:
“Katie, I need you!”
And by the time I’d arrive at her house, the wine would be poured and her husband would have made himself scarce. Our friendship worked both ways, there was nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. Nothing. We stood by each other, we supported each other, we encouraged each other and honestly, I’ve been a little lost without her.
Then my friend, Jenny, left. Off to Australia. She was the friend who always knew what I was thinking because she was probably thinking the same. We would indulge in sarcasm and eye rolling together and jaded laughter together.
She was the friend I could show all sides too. The person who understood me because she was so similar to me.
This past weekend, I said goodbye to my dear friend, Sabrina. We only became friends last year, but the first time we socialized together, and I landed up going to the petrol station at midnight in my pajamas with her, our friendship was cemented. She’s not just my amazing hairdresser, but she’s my friend and now she’s leaving to Australia too.
Who is going to Brazillian my hair now? Who is going to laugh at me and put me in my place now?
I also said goodbye to Melinda. She left a few months ago to go to New Zealand. We walked a long path of infertility together and became really close after being unified by adoption.
Early in 2017, my loyal running buddy and the friend who drives my kids home from school will be off to New Zealand. Then who’s going to whip my arse into shape when I do stupid things like enter half marathons. Who will I rely on then to fetch my kids when I can’t. Who will be the calm in the wild between myself and our mutual friend, Heather?
So many friends, just gone from my tribe, from my village. Each one of them played a unique roll in my life and now they’re gone.
I know people say it’s a global village and thank goodness for Skype and Whatsapp, but it’s just not the same. I find myself pulling away from these friends because it hurts so much to see them go, because I miss them so much. Because a Skype call or a Whatsapp is not the same as drinking a glass of wine together. Because I can’t pick up the phone and say I need you and then see you in 5 minutes.
The exit flood also makes me extremely anxious. We have put our plans to emigrate on hold, settling on a semigration instead. But are we making a mistake?
I’m sad. I’m scared. I’m lonely without these friends.