At 2.30 this afternoon, my best friend Ashley flies to Dubai to live and work for the foreseeable future. And I'm sad.
We've been best friends for 23 years. We met when we started primary school, she moved to my street (4 doors down from my house) when we were 10 years old, and our friendship has grown and blossomed into our adulthood.
We've been through a lot together. We started primary school together, and just about survived high school together. But she and I are so different. She loves drama, I love the quiet life. She goes through boyfriends like sweeties, I married my first long-term boyfriend. She experimented with life, shall we say, whereas I remain very "vanilla". And though we're best friends, we have two totally different sets of friends. But we're always there for each other and that's what I love about us.
She was there for me when my gran died, when my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and when my other gran took really unwell and had to leave her home and go to a nursing home. She supported me through my nursing training, and was always at the other end of the phone when I was at my most stressed.
And, most importantly, it was she who introduced me to my husband. She was dating my husbands friend for a few months, and thought it would be a good idea to set me up with his friend. I was in my last year at Uni, completely stressed out my box! She took me out for what I thought was supposed to be just a quiet girly drink in the pub. And who should come into the pub but her boyfriend and my future husband. I was set up by stealth!! At first I was very annoyed, I didn't want to be set up, I really wanted to focus on finishing uni. But for once she was wiser than I, and 5 and a bit years later, the man she set me up with and I are married, she was bridesmaid at my wedding and now hubby and I are expecting our first child. So I can't really be mad with her.
Despite there being lots of times where I don't agree with what Ashley's doing, or has done, I've been there for her a lot over the years. Through the numerous break ups, and make ups. Through her very questionable choices, and the subsequent consequences that followed.
I nursed her grandad in my ward, from the start of his illness all the way through. My only regret was not being on duty when he passed away. It somehow didn't feel enough to just go to the funeral.
I supported her decisions to quit uni, go back to uni, get a degree, then not use it, get a job selling insurance, then go back to uni to become a teacher.
I've been there through her on-again, off-again relationships. Through the one offs, and the fall outs, and the drunken phone calls.
We don't always see eye to eye, but I wouldn't change her for the world.
I'm sad that she's leaving, and I can't believe she won't be here for the birth of my baby. It's not like she'll just be a short drive away, or a phone call away anymore. She's going halfway across the world. I can't just meet her for a quick coffee anymore. Ashley has had a few opportunities to move abroad, namely to Bahrain, where she has family who emigrated over 15 years ago. She never took those opportunities and regretted it very much, so I'm glad she's getting the chance to go and experience living abroad. She needs to go to see if she likes it, and if it's for her. If not, she can always come back to her Scottish life.
I'm really going to miss her....
no, I'm not crying, I've got something in my eye!! Honestly....