Lost: One Friend

>> Thursday, 15 December 2011

I lost a friend. Not today, not yesterday, and not in the eternal sense; as far as I know, she's still out there, somewhere. Scratch that: she's not 'somewhere' - I know exactly where she is. It's just that wherever she is, it's not in my life, not any more.

I don't know why she doesn't want to be in contact. I've turned it over and over in my mind, and am no closer to a real answer. Maybe it was when I did this. Perhaps it was when I said that. It was probably the time I didn't do the other thing. Possibly I wasn't forgiving enough of whatever, or understanding enough of 'that' situation. Or did she just finally lose patience with my attitude to something I didn't even realise was an issue for her? Was I so self-involved that I couldn't see her drowning / moving on / washing her hands of me when she needed me to?

I know friendships are often cyclical. People come into our lives and go out of them when the seasons change; as an expat I see that happen now with alarming regularity. But there are some friends that you imagine will always be present in your life; whether you see them weekly, monthly, yearly or once every 4 years, there's still that bond. The time in between your meetings doesn't matter when you finally get your feet under the same table with a bottle of wine or a cup of tea in your hands, and this friend was one of those.

I have others, of course, some as close and who know me as well as she did. Friends who've also been there for the mountainous highs and the lows so deep that walking into the kitchen cupboard, turning the light off, and closing the door behind me to shut out the static seemed the only viable option.

Thank god, they are still there. But for whatever reason, she's not. And it turns out that some friendships will stay with you, whether they are are active or not. So I think of her, maybe when I'm listening to a piece of music that reminds me of a shared memory (I'm listening to Adele's '21' as I write this and I just know she would bloody love it), and wonder what is happening in her world. I wonder whether it was a conscious act to cut me out of her life, or if that's simply how it turned out, and that I'm just not relevant to her situation any more. I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that question, actually.

From time to time, I wonder if she ever thinks of me & mine. I wonder if she reads this blog. I wonder if she's reading this post. But mostly, I just miss her friendship.

I've been thinking about this post for a while but was inspired to write it today by this piece over at Jane Alexander's Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman


Exmoorjane 15 December 2011 at 19:16  

Oh my...that is so poignant and so beautifully written. I am sorry. But...who knows? The universe moves in strange ways and maybe she will read this post and then... xxxx

Aoife - Babaduck 15 December 2011 at 19:50  

Isn't it horrible when that happens - and we always wonder if it was something WE did (which it rarely is...). Love the ones you're with.

nappy valley girl 15 December 2011 at 20:02  

Lovely post - and what a shame some friendships have to come to an end in this way. I've seen a few fall by the wayside since having children. Is it worth asking her what's gone wrong?

Domestic Goddesque 15 December 2011 at 20:59  

I've had this happen recently and it is most disconcerting. I grew up an expat though and have to believe that people pass out of your life for a reason, in much the same way that they come into it.

MsCaroline 15 December 2011 at 23:06  

I have had this happen to me a couple times. In both cases, it had to do with situations in the person's life and nothing to do with me. With the one friend, I have finally accepted that she simply does not call or write or email (or respond to them), but if I'm passing through her town, she is delighted to see me and behaves as if nothing ever changed between us. I've finally just accepted that these are the terms of our friendship, and it's worth it to me to keep it alive on an infrequent basis. Some people just do better face-to-face.
Maybe give it a try next time you're in her area.

Expat mum 16 December 2011 at 00:28  

You can see from these wise comments, that this is part of life. When I moved to the States 21 years ago (without Internet) I was avid about keeping in touch with friends, and still am. Those that dropped me actually took me by surprise, and the ones that kept up have been totally faithful.
I used to wonder at my parents' friends, coming in and out of their lives; but now I see that there are things going on that we may not be aware of. It's highly unlikely Potty, that you have offended said person. You're just not that way.
I have lost a few friends along the way, and while very sad, you can't hold a post mortem; you just don't have the full picture.
On the other hand (very long comment by now) I have made some fairly great new (bloggy) friends recently :-)

Iota 17 December 2011 at 04:01  

"...fairly great...", Expat Mum? "FAIRLY great"? What's that supposed to mean? I'm hoping it's just that wonderful British ironic understatement, and not your genuine assessment.

I don't know what to say, other than to repeat other people's comments. Life ebbs and flows, and it's probably nothing to do with you. I could feel your sadness through your writing.

Maid in Yorkshire 17 December 2011 at 10:37  

I thought your post was beautifully written and very poignant.

For what it's worth, I can write from the other side of this problem. I have possibly been guilty of letting friends fall by the wayside - but it has never, ever been because they've done anything wrong or said the wrong thing. It's always been because our lives have diverged to such an extent that it has seemed sort of dishonest to carry on as if the friendship had any real life left in it.

If the other person were to ask me what had gone wrong, the answer would be: nothing. But I think it's just in the nature of friendships that they come and go depending on what stage of life you're at - and in the process, some fall by the wayside. I think that's just the way it is.

Jo Beaufoix 21 December 2011 at 21:40  

So so beautiful lovely. This happened to me in the last couple of years too. I've pulled it apart every which way and I still don't get it, and it hurts sometimes still and sweeps the floor from under me when I thought I was doing ok, but in the end as Aoife says, love the ones you're with.

You are a very lovely, funny, genuine and kind of fabulous lady (as Iota and Expat and so many more can attest to), so I doubt that you have offended someone so much that they've had to let you go. It's more likely something going on in their lives.

I know it hurts. It's almost like the loss of a relationship when you have been that close to somebody that you thought you'd grow old together, and then they're gone, but I think sometimes people are only meant to be ours for a little while.

Some of them are definitely meant to be there pretty much for ever though, so hold on to them and try to enjoy the memories, even if they have that bittersweet tinge of regret.


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