I'm pretty terrible at saying goodbye.
Moving to Canada was difficult, because my friends are incredibly important to me, but I knew I could always come home, I could text, Skype or Twitter. And I have done all those things and more. But eventually you have to face the reality that everyone has to say goodbye at some point. The forever goodbye.
Last year I lost a friend to cancer. I didn't know him nearly as long as I do many of my other friends, but he was amazing and funny and taught me that it's not over until it's over. Saying goodbye to him when I moved to Canada was especially tough as I knew it might be the last time we spoke. As it turned out, happily, it wasn't. We got to see each other when I was home in 2013, and, most especially, when I was home with Ada in 2015. I got to introduce my daughter to him, and the photo of the three of us together is still a treasured memory to me.
But leaving that time really did feel final.
When I got the news of his passing, I was so upset. I couldn't be home to say that final goodbye, or to be with my friends when we laughed about the amazing person he was. I never got the closure that funerals are for, the chance to see someone off on their last, great adventure to whatever. It hurt for a long time, and I wanted to post about him and what a great friend he was, but every time I thought about him I got upset again, which was not how I wanted my lasting memories of him to be.
I'm not particulary religious, so I don't pretend to believe that he's watching over us, but sometimes...
Sometimes, weird shit happens.
One night, a while after my friend died, months ago now, I had a dream. I know, I know. Just bear with me.
I was at my friends funeral, and all our friends were there. We were laughing and crying, telling each other stupid stories about how terrible he was at rolling dice when it really mattered, and how amazing he was at writing things that could make anyone laugh. We were sharing all these great tales, and among it all, I was there. But I was making everyone to promise not to mention to anyone that I was there, because I wasn't supposed to be. I clearly recall explaining to Mike that the other me was still in Canada, and that me didn't know that I had been able to come. Mike, for his part, didn't even seem to question that this was odd, and happily agreed to stay quiet. I had no explaination for how I was there, it was as if I wasn't dreaming, but instead had somehow travelled across time to be there.
It doesn't hurt that this is exactly the kind of weird story that would have made my friend laugh.
When I did wake up, I found myself profoundly at peace. I awoke with a smile on my face, and my heart beating just a touch faster than normal. I find it heartwarming to think that I still vividly remember this dream, dispite most dreams fading from memory within minutes of waking up, and certainly not lasting more than a few days. Ever since then, I've been able to think about my friend without tearing up. I remember those stories, those happier times.
I'll miss my friend, but I know that he'd rather I missed the fun times than the bad ones. So I will.