Losing a friend

December 21, 2008 at 7:58 pm 2 comments

There are various reasons that have led me to lose a friend. One old friend that I’d known since kindergarden died four years ago. Her heart stopped beating and that was it. We had lost touch over the years, and then reconnected at our 20th high school reunion. We were both very happy about it and wrote some long emails back and forth for a few years. Then I was in the end spurt of getting my degree, so I slacked off a bit. I thought I would write again as soon as I was finished. She died just a few days after my graduation. After that happened, I swore I would never again put off writing to someone. It was a bitter lesson.

In that experience is another way to lose a friend: We lost touch. After high school I moved to New York City, and she eventually moved away as well. We both always asked our mutual friends about each other, but just didn’t get reconnected for many years. That does happen. I have experienced it with other friends as well. One of us moves and starts a new life elsewhere, and the phone calls and emails slow down after a while. That is understandable, as it is simply impossible to keep up with everyone. I get caught up in daily life as well, and so do they.

I have also seen a change of interest and priorities cause a friendship to dwindle away. That was especially clear when my children started in elementary school. As long as they were infants and toddlers, I thrived on the mother & baby get-togethers. It was wonderful to meet and discuss breastfeeding, dirty diapers, recipes, child development, stress, housecleaning, relationships, and everything under the sun which was related to being a mother of small children. But as the children grew, we mothers began to focus less on every fart and burp. We resumed our lives as individuals. Many went back to work. As that happened, the mutual interest through our children faded and our personal interests and differences came to the forefront. We just kind of lost touch, as we realized that we didn’t have that much in common anymore. If we happen to meet, we talk, but that sense of connection is no longer there.

Then there is another kind of loss which comes through a major disagreement or misunderstanding. Up until now, I hadn’t really experienced that. I do recall having some strong arguments with my friend Stacey back in the old days, which included some phone slamming and catty remarks, but we always managed to talk again and clear things up. But recently I lost a friend, and I’m not really sure what happened. It started out okay, and then took a sudden swerve. Our communication lost clarity and I suppose we both got caught up in the heat of the moment and our own strong feelings. I think I’ll only speak for myself, though, as I’m not really sure what happened for her. I was very upset.

After much thought and sleeping on it, I calmed down somewhat. Eventually I spoke with her, and things seemed to be okay again. I hoped that as time went by we would resume our friendship and use the insight from the conflict to help us grow — individually and in our friendship. We both said what we had to say, and that seems to be it. I don’t see anything happening to change it. As time goes by, all I feel is a big hole. This is not what I had expected. In this case, I don’t have a predictable answer or solution. I’m going on the intuition that I have to let go and see what the future brings. Just as fate brought us together, so it drove us apart.

For all of these losses, I feel the same. I am happy to have had the friendship and treasure it for what it was. But the loss through death as well as conflict continue to be accompanied by sadness. I hope that eventually I will find a way back to my friend who is still alive. The other one is gone and all that is left are the memories — of which there are several. They still make me smile.

On the brighter side, there are friends who have been there for over 30 years. We may have left a year out here and there — or even two or three, but one of us always manages to contact the other and keep things rolling. The magical aspect about these friendships is that no matter how long we haven’t spoken, we reconnect immediately, as if we’d just been on the phone together yesterday. These friendships are definitely a case of til-death-do-us-part, for which I am ever grateful. Friendship is truly a wonderful thing. Like love itself, it grows with experience.

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Telling it like it is Four people sharing a roof

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joanna Poppink  |  December 28, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Dear Martha,

    This is a sensitive and much needed reflection on losing people close to us. As I know you appreciate, any kind of separation
    can trigger eating disorder behavior.

    Separation is a powerful experience, and we need confident and sturdiness of self to cope with the pain, bewilderment, sorrow, self criticism, disappointment and/or rage that comes.

    Going into personal detail as you do, helps give clarity to certains kinds of endings. Our eating disorder community, especially people in early recovery, need this kind of honest support.

    Thank you and well done!

    warm regards,

    Joanna

    Reply
  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  December 28, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Dear Joanna,

    How nice to hear from you! Thank you for your feedback and praise. I’m always glad to know if my writing is helpful.

    The personal details are included for exactly that reason — to give clarity through hands-on experience, and take the “mystery” out of recovery. Anybody can do it! What I also want to convey is the practical aspect — what life in recovery is like, how to find other coping possibilities when food (or alcohol &/or drugs) is no longer an option. And, of course, not to forget the basic truth: Sometimes life really hurts! Luckily, sometimes it is also beautiful and showers us with happiness.

    I wish you all the best for (what’s left of) the holiday season and the coming year!

    Best wishes,
    Martha

    Reply

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