Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On losing friends...

It hurts to lose a friend. 
I still haven't quite gotten over the loss of my best friend from elementary school, Deanna. We used to have the best times together. There was the time we snuck strawberries and brown sugar from her kitchen and ate and ate sugar till it was past being not the best idea. There was the time at the mall when she fell right through a valentines display box and we laughed till our tummies hurt and we could barely breathe. There were the times spent practicing talent show acts only to be scrapped and started anew before auditions. 
What happened to Deanna, you might ask? Middle school happened. Lauren happened. New friends happened and the great divide began. Sure we still had soccer and Girl Scouts together. Sure we still hung out just the two of us occasionally. Sure, we are Facebook friends today. But I miss her. Almost twenty years later I miss her true BFF, half a heart friendship necklace, know each other's families and crushes kind of friendship. 

It hurts to lose a friend. 
In eighth grade it was Eva. The new girl from seventh grade. The just moved from Massachusetts, gymnast, quiet and cool girl who somehow became my friend! Me! Our friendship was a trio with Stephanie. The three of us spent late start Wednesdays together downtown. We dressed the same for Halloween. We liked boys that all hung out in the same group. We mall walked, we swam in her pool, she taught us round offs and splits, I was the maid of honor in her fake recess time wedding. Then Eva's parents decided to move back east again. Who was there to walk her all the way to her gate at the airport holding back tears?me. Then perhaps because letter writing and phone calls weren't her strong suit, she just fizzled from my life leaving a void. Another friend bites the dust. And, yes, she's my Facebook friend too now. Still miss her bad ass eighth grade self.

It hurts to lose a friend.
I was lucky. I had a true guy friend. A lot of people say guys and girls can't be just friends and I would have fought to prove them wrong. Yuriy and I were complete proof that guys and girls can be friends without becoming romantically involved. I met Yuriy when we were 16 and 17 on a trip to Israel. Lots of funny inside jokes from the trip turned into a fun friendship. I dated his best friend and he dated mine (until the best friends started dating each other, but that's a whole other can of worms friendship lost and regained kind of story). Yuriy came to my cabin with my family and I went to Tahoe with his friends. Yuriy came to my birthday parties. I held up a happy birthday sign for him at my high school graduation (and the photo of it made the newspaper...the freakin newspaper proved our friendship!). He visited me twice in college. We talked on the phone almost every week (and it wasn't always one person calling the other first. It was equal). Every time I came back into town I made sure to get to see him. Our friendship rocked. I first noticed things changing when I moved to Idaho to live with my boyfriend. We talked less. I had to call him. I felt like he wasn't really talking to me about his life. The final straw came when he didn't go to my wedding. I understand that he wouldn't know that many people, but couldn't he have just come for the ceremony and skipped the reception? It hurt. One of my closest friends wasn't going to my wedding and it wasn't because he was out of town or sick. He chose not to go. I vowed to give up on the friendship. I tried to pretend like I was the one cutting him out of my life. I did pretty good only calling once or twice after our wedding. I tried not to let in that sinking feeling that maybe he did feel different about our being "just friends" and thus I now feel like there is truth to the guys and girls can't be just friends saying. If it was false then Yuriy would have gone to my wedding. He would have made the effort to get to know my husband. My son would call him Uncle Yura. A lot of time goes by that I don't even think of our lost friendship. Thank goodness he barely even goes on Facebook. But, once in a blue moon he does. Like today. He posted a picture of a cute little boy. I can't believe it. He is married and has a son and I didn't even know he had been engaged and that they were pregnant. I wish I could tell that kid when he's older that his dad once freaked out that our hotel room didn't have a bathtub. That his dad killed a cockroach for us teenage girls. That his dad was a really great friend. I may be hurt that I don't get to share in his happiness, but I am truly happy for him. I can't believe our sons are just two months apart. In the off chance that He reads this, Congrats Yura. I miss you and good job. 

It hurts to lose a friend, but let me tell you, at the risk of sounding extremely cliche, it also makes you truly appreciate those friends that you do have. Do the above lost friendships make me a little weary and restrained to enter into new ones? Yes, but for every Deanna, Eva and Yuriy in my life there is a Jen, Kelly, and Morgan. There are even Anna's and Ryann's, friends who significantly fell out of my life only to powerfully re-enter, thus strengthening the friendship. No matter how many new friends I make lately and in my future (I do hope some day Micah will lead me to more best friends as my brother and I did for our mom), its nice to have those friends that know your family, the house you grew up in, and your favorite things before you became the person you are today.

What do you do when you sense a friendship is changing or ending? How have you dealt with lost friendships? How do you celebrate the friendships in your life that remain strong?

2 comments:

  1. It is pretty amazing to look back on the history of friendships and see how they have grown, changed, and often moved on in life. I too have lost old friends due to moves or life circumstances and some hurt more than others. I loved this reflective post because it reminded me of how deeply friendships impact us for better or worse and how sometimes it's the best thing for the friendship to move forward and hope for a stronger future. I love how Fb has reconnected me to old lost friends and kept me in the loop of the friends who I don't get to see as often (especially because of this new world of parenting so many of us are entering). Thanks Ali for this post and for your friendship!

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  2. Thanks for always having such meaningful comments Meghan! I appreciate them so much and I agree that Facebook can be very powerful for remaining in touch with friends and for reconnecting. :-)

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