Sunday, August 17, 2008


August 7 2008

Tonight I was in a reflective mood. Sitting here, thinking of times past. Friends, family, lost ones. There’s an expression I’ve heard..."Its funny how day-to-day nothing changes...but when you look back...everything's different!" How true.

Tonight I was thinking of a friend I lost. Not by death, I guess by - life.

We were friends for along time. Close friends. Best friends. Years and years. Close to 20. Through good times, bad times, divorces, broken hearts and much more. A couple years ago something happened in my life (details not important). It sent me into a tailspin. I withdrew from everyone outside my family. It felt like a private hell to me. I delved deeper into my faith trying to understand the “why” of it. My friend and I grew more distant. I didn't go out as much...didn't call her as often. Oh, we talked and did things together still...just not as much as we once had. I said "no" to invites more often than I had before. I couldn't. My life was spinning out of control and I didn't tell anyone.When I finally began to reach out she seemed angry and distant. When I asked her about it she began to tell me what a bad friend I had been over the past year. She hit me with all the "terrible" things she felt I had done. It seemed she had "moved on" from our friendship. I was shocked. Crushed. Never had I felt so bad about myself. I was a horrible friend. I tried to explain and I struggled to get my mind around the fact that I had been going through the hardest time of my life --and now was being chastised for dealing with it the only way I knew how. She told me all these things with what seemed like little emotion as I sat and sobbed. I will never forget how crushed I felt. I really cared about our friendship. I tried to talk with my husband, but do men really understand the deep connections of female friends? What a profound loss it is to lose a girlfriend? No. Needless to say the friendship dwindled after that. I felt like I tried to get back into her good graces, to make amends. It was awkward. Like on probation. I was still so hurt and confused about what I had done and she seemed so distant that it seemed painful every time we were together. Like we sat and talked with a wall between us. The proverbial elephant in the room we both tried to ignore. We were best friends…now making small talk.

Now I reflect on that and I can’t help but wonder why I was to blame for ALL this. Yes I was distant. I didn’t always call back. I did a lot of things wrong. But I apologized! And what about all those years that I wasn't a "bad" friend. Didn't they count? What about the time she grew distant from our friendship a few years prior because of a new boyfriend? That lasted for quite a long time. And when they broke up and she started coming around again...she apologized and said it was bad choices, etc….I didn't hold it against her. I didn't tell her how bad a friend she was. I welcomed my friend back, happily. I had missed her! Didn’t I deserve the same?

I have other friends who don’t seem to care about the “score”. They call, I call, sometimes long periods of time in between but we just catch up…never caring who called who last or how long it’s been. People are busy, things happen, children, grandchildren, lots going on and we except life is just busy. It doesn’t change or end our friendship.

To this day I wonder...why didn't she come to me and ask if she could help…she knew what I was going through. I was pulling away…why didn't she care enough about our friendship to see that I was in trouble and needed her? Why did she remember only the past year that I fell short and not the 15+ prior where I was always there for her?

If we see changes in a friend- why not step in ask if they need help?

When I made the decision to move to North Carolina and told her, she said she was happy for me. In what felt like a distant "we are now acquaintances" voice she said she was happy for me. Never a mention of missing me. Not a tear shed for missing me. Never saying she was sorry to see me go. When my other friends called and said they wanted to get together before I left, she never did. Dinners, lunches, get togethers she couldn’t make. I emailed her before I left, letting her know when I would be leaving, hoping she might mention getting together. No response. By the time she did answer I was already here in NC. She'd been "busy" she said. The phone calls stopped. The email's died off.

I think of calling her sometimes...but I know what I will hear. The distance. The voice that tells me I am but a casual friend now who lives four states away. The surface smiles. Awkwardness. I am reminded that I am no longer her close friend. There is no intimacy, no secret sisterhood, private jokes, and lighthearted chatter of our lives. I think of trying to talk to her about it but realize how much it might hurt if I found out that it didn’t matter to her. I feel a great loss. My family and other friends tell me to lighten up and forget it. That I was a good friend to her for 15+ years and yet she judged me on the 1 year I fell horribly short. My other friend’s just say let it go. Her loss. Etc. That's hard for me. I don't throw things away easily. Especially friends. I care deeply. I hold on tight. I invest. I tend to be independent in my relationships and I am not a needy person so I am not the type to call all the time but I do value my family and friends. I am in it for life. I will never abandon a friend. It’s said we never really know the actual moment when love dies, but we recognize when it’s gone. I guess that's true for friendship too. Tonight, I really miss my friend. I know I always will…..

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