7 months. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve picked up the phone to greet you in the morning in our goofy way. There was never time that I hung up without a smile. 7 months and I still have to stop myself from reaching for the phone to call you while I’m folding laundry. See how your day is going, how you’re feeling, how your kid is doing in school, have you heard from his teacher today? All these menial details I genuinely wanted to know. My brain hasn’t yet trained itself to your absence. It sounds like I’m mourning a death, doesn’t it? It feels like I’m mourning a death. But you’re very much alive, and I think that makes it even worse.
I’ve lost friends before, through the natural ebb and flow of life it’s only natural to outgrow some people, or have certain friendships in certain seasons. But this was different. This was a spiritual-sister friendship, not merely a common-ground-good time-girlfriend.
I’m fine though, in case you’re wondering. I’m not fine, but I am fine. I’ll BE fine.
I can’t really pin-point when I noticed the shift in you, but I know at some point there was one or I wouldn’t be writing this today. I wish I knew exactly at which point I screwed up enough to lose your graces. I’ve “over-thinked” this to death, raking and sifting through memories trying to find the particles of where I went wrong. I’m not naive enough to assume I’m without fault in some way, I’m difficult at times, I know that. But if only I knew what that fault was, I would fix it. Not for you, but for me, and my future Louises. Because suddenly I wasn’t the Thelma to your Louise anymore. On the other hand, I can pinpoint exactly when things shifted for me, and that was my birthday last year. You were “too sick and too broke” to celebrate with me, but the next day you were tagged on Facebook having drinks with friends just ten minutes from my house. All at once I was wise. Wisdom seldom ever comes without pain.
I am angry. Not at you, but at me. I knew you for 16 years. I logged so many hours. listening, being there. I invested 100% of me into our friendship. I can sleep knowing that much. After not hearing from you for years, you needed a ride to an appointment, you called me, and thus started our second run together in life. I never even gave it a thought. I arranged childcare for my own 3 kids, I drove 3 hours round trip, sat in the waiting room, and listened to your prognosis when you were still too drowsy from the anesthesia to listen for yourself. The sad part is? I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being that person for you. I know I was a good friend, whatever fault I hold, I know it cannot be in that. You were my sister, I would have given you my kidney without a second thought. Your kids were precious to me. I wanted good things only for them and for you. So why then, do I blame, blame, blame myself? I am angry that I let this affect my sense of worth. If you could suddenly not want me anymore, then why on earth would anyone else?
Now that I look back, I realize that you only called me because you had just moved back into town. You didn’t know anyone else to call. So maybe that is where my fault lies, I was just too blinded to see it. I was more invested from the start, how can I fault you or be mad at you for that.
There was a beginning, a middle, and then an end. The middle was just the best ever. We prayed for eachother, you taught me about Jesus and patience and being a warrior for your child. We confided, we cried, we gave eachother unfiltered honest advice, and we laughed more than any two humans, I am sure of that. I drove two hours to pick lice out of your hair when your husband was out of town and your kid came home with the worst case of headlice either one of us had ever seen, and you know what? We LAUGHED the entire time. You “got” me. You never judged me, and you never thought I was “too weird” Maybe you were faking it the entire time, maybe i was just a stepping stone for you until you found something better, but I don’t mind saying that whether you meant any of it or not, you were by far the best friend I ever had and even though my heart is still reeling from the rejection, I don’t regret one second.
You were in a season and I knew that, maybe I was overbearing? I didn’t mean to be. You were sick, heartbroken, and physically and emotionally exhausted. I knew that. I tried to help anyway I could. Gifts, meals, surprises in the mail, funny memes on a crap day…I just wanted to help you through your season the way I thought you would help me through mine. Somehow I missed the note. Big time.
The end was the beginning of my darkest season. I was post surgery, bleeding, sore and vulnerable as hell. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions that my seemingly well-thought out decision would bring. My husband was rockstar at taking care of me, but I needed to hear your voice. I needed another mother who knew me in the only way another mother could, you would understand while I mourned. But you didn’t call to check on me…so I texted. You finally texted back hours later. Eventually I called you, you probably couldn’t hear me holding back tears…you said you were busy at the grocery store…and then later that evening our friendship ended. I’ll never forget what you told me…that I made you feel bad about yourself and you couldn’t be the friend I needed. And that was that. You left me bleeding and stranded in my own hormones and I had never felt like such a burden to someone in my life.
You were supposed to be here. You were supposed to be here when I suddenly and inexplicably plunged into the darkest pit of depression, when I had a breakdown and cried at my doctor’s office because my own thoughts scared me. You were supposed to be here when I moved my life somewhere where I knew no one. No friends to speak of. New schools, new church. New house. You were supposed to BE here to laugh maniacally with me when the upstairs toilet malfunctioned and poop water leaked through the ceiling. You were supposed to be here when I sent my babies off to Kindergarten, when the thought of my oldest starting middle school in a new school scared me to the point of sleeplessness. But you’re not here, you’ve moved on.
I’m proud to say I made it over the worst, I’m still cynical, gaurded. But I won’t be forever. There is much for me to learn from this. Learning through mourning is a fluid thing, it doesn’t ever completely end so I’ll tuck the nuggets of truth away as they are revealed to me and I will carry them forward.
I hope you know I am not bitter, and I still only want good things for you. And I still pray for you. You won’t be getting any of my kidneys now though.