The other day, I said goodbye to you, friend.

We hugged one last time and there were tears dripping off the end of my nose because I knew the truth: friends like you only come around once in a lifetime and I just lost mine.

After I left, you climbed into a moving truck and you and your family began the trek across the state, across the country, to your new life far, far away. We spent that whole last day with you, my husband and I, helping you tape boxes and load the truck. We sipped coffee and we laughed and we cried. When we drove away to our home down the road, knowing you would soon be driving away to your new home across the country, my tears fell faster than I could wipe them and I realized I’d left so much unsaid. Unsaid because there weren’t enough hours in the day to say all I wanted to. Unsaid because I couldn’t get them past the lump in my throat.

But if I could have 10 more minutes with you, this is what I’d want to say:

Thank you.

Thank you, friend, for all the ways you have inspired me, taught me, emboldened me, and strengthened me throughout the years. There have been big ways and there have been little ways, but all of them mean that I’m a better me because of you.

Thank you for the coffee dates when we sat for three hours, long after our coffee cups were empty, and talked about nothing and everything.

Thank you for pulling my kids into your lap and loving them as if they belong to you.

Thank you for putting in the time and effort it takes to make a friendship bloom, even when we were knee-deep in sippy cups and dirty diapers.

Thank you for holding space for me when I grieved.

Thank you for believing the best of me even when I wasn’t my best.

Thank you for weathering the storm of motherhood alongside me.

Thank you for dragging me to paint night and forcing me to try something new. Thank you for not laughing when your painting was far better than mine.

Thank you for encouraging me to follow my passions, to pick up my camera, to write, to find that that thing that gives me life. And thank you for getting it when there were days, seasons, years when I just didn’t have the energy for any of it.

Thank you for being that friend who comes to take my kid for a few hours because I have the stomach flu.

Thank you for being that friend who rolls up her sleeves and starts boxing up my house when I need help with a big move.

Thank you for always having a snack to offer a hangry kid when I forgot one.

Thank you for calming my kindergartener in the middle of a tantrum because I had my hands full with two other little ones.

Thank you for holding my baby when I needed an extra pair of hands.

Thank you for listening to me talk about having one more baby for the 778th time.

Thank you for your honesty.

For your generosity.

For your loyalty.

For your devotion.

Your friendship has been more than just friendship to me. It has been a sisterhood. My village. My tribe. At times, my life raft. Without you, these early years of mothering would have been lonelier and harder.

I don’t want you to go, but thank you for giving me a friendship that makes it hard to let go.

Friend, so much was left unsaid between us. I didn’t have the capacity to give voice to all the gratitude and respect and love that I had for our friendship at that moment. Instead, I hugged you. I said, “I love you.” I said, “You’ve been a great friend.” I cried hard. It didn’t feel like enough, but maybe in the end it was.

Maybe, in the end, those few words I did say were everything.

I love you.

You’ve been a great friend.

I think that kind of says it all.

You may also like:

I’m So Grateful For My “Always” Friends

Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

I’m Thankful For the Friendships That Time and Distance Can’t Break

Cassaundra Robinson

Cassaundra is a mom of four and wife to one, working hard to keep calm and carry on in the Pacific Northwest. When she's not yelling for the bickering to stop or trying to keep the baby from eating dog food, she's probably planning her next vacation. She's always got a coffee and camera in hand. You can find her blogging at Living on Coffee & Prayer.