I was not able to help out a friend and bring her a cooked meal after she had surgery. I couldn't give her a hug. I couldn't let her know that everything would be ok and make her laugh but telling her a funny story about my first surgery, before she went in for hers.
I can't meet my friend for coffee when she has a stressful day at work and needs to complain about her boss and have a friend empathize and just be there and offer support. It's hard to show her that she is awesome and loved from so far away.
I couldn't take care of my dog when he was sick and pet him and make him comfortable. I know my dog sitter did this but I can't help but feel that he needed me and I wasn't there for him. He doesn't understand why I left him or know that I'm coming back.
Yesterday a good friend of mine was hit by a car while riding her bicycle. She had qualified for the world ironman championships in Kona this year (that's a huge deal) but will be unable to race. I can't comfort her on that loss. She will have months of physical therapy as her broken bones heal and she regains mobility. I can not offer to take over a meal when she is recovering or take long walks with her once she regains some mobility or give support at the frustrations of injury and a long recovery. She has a very long unpleasant road ahead and throughout that process, I'll be here, on the other side of the world, not with her helping out.
Yes, I miss good cheese and being able to effectively communicate but what I miss the most are the people I left behind. I hate not being there for the people who have always been there for me. This is truly the hard part of living abroad.