Years ago I said that if I had to chose between losing a lover or losing a friend, I would opt for the former.
Don’t get me wrong: losing either sucks.
However, friends are different. Lovers and even spouses may come and go from life, but I expect my friends to stick around for the long term.
Perhaps I am being selfish and unreasonable. After all, I am the woman who never fully believed in the concept of soul mates or rather, the idea that each of us had only one soul mate for all of eternity. Generally speaking, I don’t do forever. Rather, my rational, egg-headed self believes that each of us has the potential to have many soul mates throughout our lives. We change. Our needs change. The idea of expecting one person to fulfill all those needs and desires as we grow older seems downright silly at times. If I feel this way about lovers, then why shouldn’t I extend this to my friends?
However, I do not. I expect my friends to be around. Maybe it is silly, irrational and selfish, but that is what I want.
Like many, I get upset when I do not get what I want.
Therefore, when I unexpectedly got an email from one of my closest friends informing me we could no longer be friends because I “betrayed his trust” I was devastated.
Actually, I was more than devastated.
First of all, I couldn’t figure out what I was being accused of. This was a mistake. I never did this.
Secondly, an email. Really?! Who delivers this sort of news in an email? The following dialogue went through my mind: After all we been through, after saying that I was as close to a sibling as you would ever have, you break this news to me in an email? Wasn’t what we had at least worth a phone call?
Still, this is not a movie. This is not a trial. I did not get a chance to tell my side or even hear of the charges against me. The friendship is over. Done for. I am left to mourn.
I won’t lie. It hurts.
Still, what hurts the most is the realization that perhaps we were never friends in the truest sense of the word. Perhaps, much like past romantic relationships, I projected on to this “brother” all these things that simply were not there. Looking back, there were signs: the months without so much as an email or phone call, the rather abrupt way he ended an engagement with his then-fiancee, etc. Still, I rationalized it in my mind. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I never thought our friendship would end, but now it has.
I know I will be okay. Part of me knows that this may even be for the best. Still, I cannot help but mourn not for what was but what I thought we had that may have never been. It’s a blow to both the heart and the ego.
Still, I move on. I take some comfort in knowing I am not alone. How many of us can truly say we haven’t misjudged a person or been in a relationship—be it a friendship or romantic one—which wasn’t very healthy?
It doesn’t make it easier, though.
Therefore, as all five stages of grief wash over me—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—I am trying very hard to see what if any lesson there is for me to learn. Strangely, there is little anger present. I believe I am firmly entrenched in “depression” for the time being.
Perhaps there is no lesson to learn here. Perhaps this friendship was not supposed to be for life. I truly have no idea.
However, for nearly three years, this person was in my life, and nothing will change that.
Goodbye. I’ll never forget you.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant journal photo archives
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