When a person who holds a significant place in your life moves away it can be a hard time adjusting to life without them around. You become used to having them just there, and simply the knowledge that they are nearby can be enough in life's ups and downs.
My sister is just about to move away with her family to another state, and I don't think right now I can fully comprehend just what that is going to mean for me.
Through our younger years we shared everything, and as we moved out and married and had our children our journey together continued. A sister who knows you inside and out, and who is never far away is such a beautiful gift. Both my sisters are like this to me. One already lives far away and now the other will also be a plane flight away.
Many of you reading this can possibly relate. Whether it has been a sister or brother or a close friend moving away, or perhaps you are the one who has moved. It is never easy no matter what the situation. I have learnt three things which have helped me in the past, and are worth remembering again.
Stay in touch
The first one is simple. As much as I can I stay in touch with that person and aim to 'do life' with them from afar. It is definitely not the same as having them right there beside me, but at least it's better than nothing and it's a way of walking through life with that person and being able to share pieces along the way.
Acknowledge God's work
The second thing I have learnt to be able to cope with separation is to see God's handiwork weaved into the decision to move away (either our decision or someone else's). God has a place where He wants each of us to be, to be used by Him; a place where we can best love those around us and to make a positive difference in the world for the glory of His Kingdom. Seeing through the surface of the move to the bigger picture is always helpful. 'For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 10).
Make room for friendship
Thirdly, being open to allow new people into your life, and giving this time to happen, can be a beautiful part of a difficult process. Some years ago I was adamant that I didn't want new friends, as I only wanted my old friends who we had left, the ones who knew the real me.
It took me a year to open my eyes and look around me and see there were others who I could let into my life and start the friendship process with. They would never be replacements but were new people who God had for me to support, encourage and challenge me.
As my wonderful sister moves away in a few days nothing and no one will ever be able to replace who she is my life. This relationship will continue, just in a different way. I know God has an amazing plan in their move. And I know God has new people He wants me to let in my life.
It doesn't make it any easier, but it helps. Thank you my sister for being yourself and for allowing me to be 'me'.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of three young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html