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I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away.

Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood.

Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there.

It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away.

RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving

I remember reading somewhere that anger is almost always a secondary emotion—it’s triggered by another emotion, usually fear or sadness.

So if I seem mad or distant after your big announcement, please know I’m not meaning to.

My anger is just a facade—it’s to cover up how truly heartbroken I am that you’re leaving.

I want to be happy for you, and a part of me is. New opportunities and new adventures are something to be celebrated, and I know this is a good move for your family. But another part of me still wants to cry like a small child losing her best friend to a parent’s new job or a divorce or any one of the reasons families have to move.

It makes me cry because I love you people. And as easy as it is to stay in touch in this technology-driven world, I know our friendship will be different. We won’t be able to chat while our kids play, we won’t be right down the street to help jumpstart a car, and we certainly won’t accidentally bump into each other at the grocery store.

I’m also sad because once again, I have to pivot and adjust what the future looks like.

I thought, perhaps naively, that we would have more time. More memories, more laughs, more game nights, more book club meetings that are mostly just to gab and eat dessert. I thought our kids would grow up together, eating freezer pops in the summer and building couch forts in the winter, disappearing with each other down the hall to play games or outside to throw balls for the dog. The thought that our kids, if they ever do meet again, will probably not remember each other tugs on my already-fragile heartstrings.

RELATED: When Your Friends Live Far Away

So yes, maybe I should be used to it by now, but it still breaks me a little every time one of my adult friends moves away. It never gets any easier, and it always leaves a hole in my heart. I know I can’t change your plans, and I wouldn’t necessarily want to—deep down I know you have a completely logical reason for leaving.

But I’ll still miss you.

So please send me pictures of the quirky stuff in your new house—show me that wonky color scheme or that light fixture that was definitely installed wrong sometime in the last decade. Please call me when it’s been one of those days and you just want to talk to an old friend. Please update me and the rest of your Facebook friends as your kids grow and say funny things and lose teeth and all those great milestones that kids have.

But most of all, please let me know if you’re going to be back in town, even if you’re just passing through.

I’d love to see you. 

Haley Cole

I am a wife, a mother to 3 children, a speech-language pathologist, and an outdoor enthusiast. I enjoy playing and teaching music, hiking with my family, and binge-watching British TV. 

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