It's So Hard to Say Goodbye
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The other night, I had a bad dream, and I woke to realize that it was true. Friends really was ending.

Over the last ten years, I’ve grown with Chandler and Monica, Joey and Phoebe, and Ross and Rachel. When it all began, I was a college student. My friends really did live just next door—or just down the hall, or in the next building. And we really did hang out in the coffee shop. We watched every week, we bought the show’s soundtrack, and we quoted lines from the show.

As my life changed, though, my Friends were still there. I said goodbye to my college pals—the ones I’d gathered with every Thursday night with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to share, the ones I thought would be my friends for life, the ones I lost touch with years ago. I moved on into the real world and got a job that I hated—but where I had friends who discussed Thursday night’s show around the water cooler on Friday morning. With my Friends, I started relationships, and I ended relationships. I worked menial part-time jobs. I suffered through my bad real job, and I suffered through losing it. I even planned my wedding at the same time as Monica.

No matter how bad things seemed as life changed, I always had Thursday night. I could sit down in front of the TV and laugh about life for awhile.

Through the years, I’ve spent my holidays with my Friends. I’ve cried at their weddings—and at the births of their children. In fact, I knew my Thursday night Friends better than I knew some of the people I went out with on Friday nights.

Then, two years ago, I left my home behind. I said goodbye to my family and friends and moved a thousand miles away from everything that had been familiar. I settled in a new town where I knew no one but my husband. As strange as it may sound, my Friends were my stability. They were that one familiar thing that I still had—no matter where I went, through college and the real world and married life and life in that new town, I always had our Thursday nights together.

Somehow, I guess I just thought that it would go on forever—that I’d still be laughing with my six Friends as they moved into the same retirement community and cracked jokes about incontinence and grandkids. But I guess all good things must come to an end.

I watched the last episode in the best way I could: with my friends—my husband, Paul, and Jason and Amy, who, ironically enough, live right next door. And I said one last tearful goodbye to my Friends.

In the immortal words of my friend Chandler, could I be any sadder?

I guess it’s time to move on now. To grow up. To leave the coffee shop and go our separate ways. But I’ll always have the memories of those Thursday nights.

And I’ll always have syndication.

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