Family: Long distance friendships are different

Treena Mielke

I am sad today.

Oh, you know, it is easy to be sad right now with COVID-19 scaring the crap out of everyone, cases going up and even touching doorknobs and handles turning into a dangerous past time.

But, no, that is not why I am sad.

In fact, I am just the same as far as COVID goes. I am trying to be careful. I wear a mask. I use hand sanitizer. I stay home as much as possible, but, still, I cannot live in a bubble.

I must get groceries. I must get prescriptions and I must watch my grandsons play hockey.

Okay, I do not have to watch the boys, but I did. On Sunday I watched them. And it was good. The two local teams played other local teams (same town) and the stands were nearly bare.

There were only a few fans and just me and the boy’s dad who kept yelling, “get the rebound, get the rebound.” Once a coach, always a coach, I guess.

No, I am not sad because of COVID.

I am sad because once an exceedingly long time ago I found a friend, a true friend. Over the years, she has laughed and cried with me, got lost with me, supported, and comforted me and even lent me her absolute best velvet dress pants one New Year’s Eve a long time ago.

And, when my hospital bed was surrounded by doctors, all looking very grave and concerned because they could not figure out what was wrong with me, she was there.

I am sad because she, who hates Alberta winters and wants to be closer to her pregnant daughter and, for a host of other reasons, is moving.

She is moving to British Columbia which is, at least to me, too far away.

They say the longest journey begins with a single step. To my way of thinking that’s how friendships begin as well.

For us, the first step of the journey of our friendship began with a book club.

From there we just kept on going on a friendship journey that mostly took us out for coffee and then, finally, to England where she was a tour guide to me, a stranger in her native country.

Our journey has taken us through the soap opera days of our own lives, job changes, no jobs, relationships, kids, grandkids, and sickness.

Last year my friend was diagnosed with bone cancer. She faced her diagnoses with incredible courage and strength.

I was grateful to be among the people who could be there to love and support her.

And even as she begins another leg of her journey in a different province, I know our friendship will not be fractured, but it will be different.

And that is why I am sad.

I do not want it to be different. I want it to be the same. I want to go out for lunch. I want to go out for coffee. I want to stop by her house, and I want her to stop by my house just like we do now.

But, as much as I want all those things, they are not going to happen.

And that is the reality of the situation.

But this much I know to be true.

There are no border officials patrolling friendships. And the journey that began a long time ago with a single step is far from over. It has just taken a new and different turn.

And so, I will put away my sadness, wish my friend well and know in my heart of hearts, we will see each other soon even if it is through Zoom or Messenger.

And one day I have no doubt I will ring her doorbell and we will hug (goodbye COVID) and have a glass of wine and celebrate the incredible journey of our friendship.

For now, it’s just another bend in the road.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Head coach Jason Chatwood, left, sports one of the Sylvan Lake Gulls’ first on-field hats next to Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, earlier this year.
Sylvan Lake Gulls ticket sales off to flying start

With the inaugural season quickly closing in, the Sylvan Lake Gulls hit… Continue reading

Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s chief medical health officer publicly criticizes staffer who leaked info

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, dealing with rocketing COVID-19… Continue reading

The RCMP major crimes unit is investigating after a person was found dead at a residence on Stewart Street in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP investigating suspicious death in Sunnybrook

A ‘deceased adult’ was found by officers

A detail from Canyon Light, an oil painting by Joan Clement, in the Scale exhibit by members of the Red Deer Art Club. It’s showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the city’s Culture Services Centre. (Contributed image).
Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month

But First Friday receptions and patio concerts are postponed

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

A piece of hockey history is up for sale, with a rare Vancouver Millionaires sweater, seen in an undated handout photo, hitting the auction block. The cream and maroon wool cardigan is believed to have belonged to Hall of Fame goalie Hugh Lehman, who backstopped the Millionaires to a Pacific Coast Hockey Association championship in 1922-23. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelands Auction, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Mighty Heart is breezed by exercise rider Des McMahon, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Woodbine Entertainment says it has officially cancelled the rest of its thoroughbred racing season following discussions with the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

Most Read