Do You Grieve Old Friends?

Last night I dreamt about an old friend. I woke up feeling sad. It has been a long time since I have spoke to her, and although I think of her from time to time, I have no idea what is happening in her life. Crawling out of bed, I grabbed my phone and looked her up on social media. Her account was private, but I was still able to see a couple newer photos. She looks exactly the same. And my stomach turned as a wave of grief came over me.

This friend, whose name I will keep private, was someone who supported me years ago when I was going through a lot of the struggles I was having with my husband at the time. He was unavailable, he was unwell and then he was in rehab. I felt alone (some of it from my own not letting people in) but I also felt welcome. Her, and her family, made me feel safe in a time when I did not feel safe at all. There was lazy afternoons spent watching movies on her couch cuddled up with her and her kids. There was late nights spent talking and sharing out lives while her husband was away and the kids long gone to bed. There was adventures and outings and fun things that they invited me to, when they didn’t really have to. There was a friendship there. A solid one. One that I thought would be there forever.

Photo by Du01b0u01a1ng Nhu00e2n on

And then she disappeared. She stopped inviting me to things or stopping by my place. She stopped texted and then stopped answering my calls. I was confused and hurt. I didn’t understand it. Then, one day, weeks later, I ran into her at the local drug store. I called her out. I asked her what was the problem and voiced that I was mad.

“It’s not you,” she explained.

“What??” I asked, incredulous. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Flabbergasted, she went on to explain. My husband at the time was in the middle of his addiction, and although I had asked her for money in the past (something you should NEVER do from a friend), I hadn’t again because it felt uncomfortable for me. Well, it was not as uncomfortable for me husband, as using my phone, he asked her for money, on Christmas Day, when she was with her family. Not appropriate. Not okay. And from her perspective, made her feel unsafe. She had two kids to worry about, and she was right. Reluctantly, I said I understood and walked away.

We never spoke again.

And that still hurts.

Now, I can go on to talk about all the ways my ex-husband screwed up in that moment. How hurt I was and how mad I was and all the negative emotions this brought up for me. I can talk about how I was also responsible and that there was things that I would change both in that moment and since then. I could tell you how I wish that I could talk to her to tell her how right she was, how sorry I am and how much I see things differently than I did back then. How I never considered her in a lot of ways and took her, and our friendship, for granted.

But, in reality, none of it matters. Things have changed. We are both different people now and our lives have gone in different directions. It happens. It is part of being human and I know, that like me, you also have one of those friends that you wished you still talked to sometimes. It could have been a friendship that ended suddenly like mine, or one that slowly petered out. What happened is irrelevant. It is how it makes you feel.

So, years later, I still miss her. I still grieve the solid friendship we had, and the one that we missed out on. Some people will come into your life for a moment, for a season or for a lifetime. But regardless, at the end of the day, she was my friend and she mattered.

“The tender friendships one gives up, on parting, leave their bite on the heart, but also a curious feeling of a treasure somewhere buried.”

– Antoine de Saint-Expuery

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