The Run Club gave me something to look forward to every Thursday night while Nick was in Afghanistan. Each week, we’d run, we’d swap stories about recent races, we’d have drinks, and my running club friends would ask me how many more months, weeks, or days until Nick came home.
On Thursday night, we said our goodbyes, and my runner friends wished me luck in Germany. I held it together until I got into my car, and then — like any grown women who could, would — I called my mom. I cried. She listened.
I drove home, and I went inside. I cried, and Nick listened.
And as we sat on the sofa, his arm around my waist, something occurred to me:
These Thursday night friends supported me when I was so sad that Nick was away, and now Nick was supporting me when I was so sad to leave these friends. These two worlds — both of which were so deeply part of my experience during Nick’s deployment — complimented each other, but never actually intersected.
It’s time to move on now. I’m happy that it’s so hard to say goodbye, because that means my life is filled with people and experiences that matter. I’m sad too, because I’m leaving a chapter of my life — one that was largely defined by running and deployment — behind for a new, unknown, chapter.
To my Thursday Night Run Club friends: thank you. Your laughter and smiles, your consideration for my heart while Nick was away, and your friendship were a light each week through nine months of deployment. For that, you’ll always have a special place in my heart.