I’m an avid writer when I’m upset about anything. Not for public purposes, just for my own therapeutic purposes. When I’m gone, the kids are going to find endless little notes/essays/rants, and they can be entertained/surprised!
But I wanted this one to be public. Hugely, publicly public!! Because what I really want is to shout this unfair/shitty situation from the public rooftops, and since that’s not the correct thing to do, I’m just going to leave it where it MAY or may not be ever seen. Here!! Yes, here is better, here where it feels public, but no one ever really visits! And that will have to do.
I had a friend. She was a good friend. A bestie…for a time. We had a great many things in common. A shared sensitivity to the ravages of this world, a belief in good. And, I thought, an understanding of each other. I knew she was more socially minded than I, and she knew I was more insular, less inclined to socialize so much. It was ok, I thought. I once stayed on the phone with her when she was dangerously depressed, knowing her husband was on his way home. I dropped my own travel plans (she never knew!) to feed her animals when her mother became suddenly ill and she had to go.
And she once saved my life during a terrible, turbulent time. She was there. And I loved her for that, then and now.
There were other things I merely tolerated. Her unfortunate tendency toward extreme selfishness. Her way of saying things that were thoughtless and hurtful. But I forgave, and I assume she disliked parts of me, and she forgave. Because we were friends.
And then there came a time when I was in dire straits, emotionally. We lost somebody who shouldn’t have been lost. He mattered terribly to me and to many others. A child (though not my own) who seemed so like my own. I was shattered to my core, and the only way I got up each day was because I was afraid not to. I found a way to move on, but it took me many, many, many long months.
And then my Mum became ill in the middle of it all, and gave me another terrible jolt. And a couple of days after that, my friend called in need of help.
The quick back story is that she had a relative who had a child. This relative was troubled and troublesome. My friend had told me many, MANY times that she was not a person to be trusted. She had stolen from everyone who had helped her, including my friend, and had caused a great deal of misery for a great many people.
I was asked a favor. Could I go immediately and retrieve this relative and her child from a domestic violence situation an hour and a half away.
I rarely say no to people in need.
But this was one of those occasions when I did. I told my friend to call the cops instead, if her relative was in danger. I told her I couldn’t help when the outcome for me and mine could be robbery/physical harm. I apologized but told her my own emotional state had to come first this time.
And that was that.
During a long year of suffering, I went to ground. I couldn’t seem to recover from the terrible grief I was suffering, although I continued to fake it when I had to. I went to Australia, reconnected with my Mum and family, and came home again. I suffered, but slowly, slowly, I started to recover.
And then, a year or so in, I wrote an email. I apologized to my dear friend for my absence. I explained everything, as you do with a bestie. I laid my heart bare to her. And apologized again.
And then I waited. And several days later, I received her gut-wrenching reply. It was filled with ‘understanding.’ It was filled with ‘forgiveness.’
And then… she said that although she did understand and forgive, ours was not a friendship she had an interest in renewing. That she preferred to surround herself with people who had a better idea of give and take in relationships than I had shown. And she wished me well.
And then, her self-congratulations about her magnitude in forgiving someone who had hurt her so badly covered her social media for days. How proud she was of herself. And then I watched how her 'real' friends rallied and congratulated her too.
And how inordinately sad I was. How my faith in human nature was shattered as I watched her, so pleased with herself, still believing her own much-touted creed. Not seeing…
Sometimes, I wish I’d told her some stuff over the years. How whenever she told me that yet another ‘friend’ had hurt her feelings, had dumped her, had been cruel, that in each tearfully related incidence, I could have told her why they did it. And how it was always understandable when you looked at it from another angle. Was it a friend’s duty to tell her? To have shown her she wasn’t always quite as loving/nurturing as she thought she was? I still don’t know.
I wish I’d told her how my feelings were hurt every time she told me in detail about her friend/arty group that met often, and never once invited me along, even knowing I’d lost a tribe when I moved too, just as she had. I might have liked it. Like I said, I’m not crazy social but I’d have liked the opportunity to find out.
It’s been another year. I unfriended her on FB because it seemed like the right thing to do. Why be hypocritical, right? I deleted tons of written but unsent emails, which ranged from conciliatory and explanatory to vicious and biting – none worth sending; she’d made the bed that we both now lie in.
Truth is, I hope she’s happy. I wish often that I could just text her and find out how she’s doing. I wish she still cared how I’m doing.
Truth is, I miss her a lot.
And that, according to a counselor I asked, is what is needed to find that detestable word - closure.
Gotta keep it real - I don’t feel any better….
It still sucks.