While the military life has been extraordinarily good to us, it does have one major downfall and that is the never ending good-byes. It starts as soon as you become part of the military family and it's something that you have to face over and over again.
First, you say good-bye to your family and lifelong friends, not knowing when you will see them again. You go from seeing your family all the time to once or twice a year, if you're lucky. Those friends you've known since elementary school? You try to squeeze in visits but it gets harder and harder each time you come home.
And though that never gets easier, you do eventually become a little more accustomed to it. You build up a life wherever the Marine Corps has sent you. You make new friends. Amazing friends. People that you don't go a day without talking to. Eventually they are your family too and it's impossible to imagine not having them in your life.
And just when you are settled and comfortable, it's time to move on to your next duty station. It's time, once again, to say good-bye to people that you love.
Of course, you promise that you will keep in touch. You'll Skype and email. You will do whatever it takes but you will NOT let these special friendships fizzle.
Then life gets in the way and the Skype dates are non-existent. The emails are few and far between. And while the distance technically stays the same, in many ways, it also grows.
And suddenly, those people that were your very best friends have become just another person on Facebook. The only way you know what's going on with them is through status updates and the occasional picture. Eventually so much time passes that you don't even know how or where to begin to get back to the friendship you once had.
The blame lies mostly on you. You did very little to keep the friendships going. Many times it was out of busyness, but sometimes it was out of shear laziness. Just like anything else that is worthwhile, maintaining long distance friendships takes real work and you didn't put enough in.
Despite moving on and making new friends, there's this constant nagging that you should do something. Reach out. Build those friendships back up. Be there for those friends even if they are so, so far away.
But you don't- because you wonder if it's just...too late.
And each day you think about those people that have seen you laugh and seen you cry. The ones who have cheered you on at your very best and picked you up at your absolute worst. And you wonder. How did someone that was once so special to me become just somebody that I used to know?