Elphaba and Glinda

*I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason,
bringing something we must learn. 
And we are led to those who help us most to grow,
if we let them.
And we help them in return.

I have had a friend for almost twelve years who is now more of an acquaintance.  We became neighbors when our sons were about 4 months old and her family moved across the street from me and mine.  We made quick work of our friendship, hanging out in each other's yards and kitchens.  We even went through our last pregnancies together ten years ago.  Our children also became almost inseparable, running across the street when they were babies to see each other, even at the risk of being punished by mean mommies who were trying to protect them.

A few years ago my friend decided that she needed to sever ties with me.  She was working on healing her life from many different injuries and I ended up being one of them.  It has been a while now and luckily my memory of this time has faded a bit.  I remember the email telling me that she felt strongly that my friendship was somehow hurtful.  That I made her feel bad about herself (thus the purging).  Months passed and we made up and all seemed well, until it all happened again.  Again, after some time we were friends again.

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun.  
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?

As my family started to experience growing pains (and I struggled a bit letting go and adjusting... just a little bit), there were very few efforts toward support or concern.  I let it go.  Not everyone is on the same level with empathy, right?  But then there were obvious times when I was avoided by her, in public  I mean.  I assumed there was insecurity or even resentment toward me because I was usually happy and well-adjusted.  What could I do about that?  And honestly, what could she do about it?

But because I knew you, I have been changed for good ...

Eight months ago it was me writing the email.  Something's not right.  You can't seem to get over feeling unhappy with me.  Let's be honest.  This friendship is over.  There was no response, which didn't surprise me.  We faded into a different kind of association.  This will be permanent, and it's ok.  The boys are still friends, which matters to me, but that's it.  Where there used to be phone calls and laughing there is the occasional wave from her passing car.  But somewhere deep down the sad part is gone and I have settled in to it.  She had been important to me, and I would take those good things with me.  All is well, and I realize now that not all relationships are meant to be lasting.  Some come and go, changing us for good in the process.

*lyrics taken from For Good from the musical WICKED 

10 comments

Heather of the EO | October 1, 2008 at 7:17 AM

wow. Your perspective is so positive in such a hurtful situation. It's hard to lose a friendship and never really understand what was going on with the other person. But I think you're right, some relationships weren't meant to last. Especially if they cycle through times of pain like this.
I hope you continue to feel peaceful about this.

Miss Brandy | October 1, 2008 at 8:17 AM

That's so tough. I've been freinds with someone for 17 years now, mostly just a couple phone calls a year now even though she lives in Utah. Her life has taken some different turns and we're just not comfortable with eachother the way we were for soooo long, even being roommates for a while. I've been clinging to this empty relationship. Maybe it's time to get over it and let nature take its course, pulling us back to our own corners. Even that's hurtful. I don't know how you made it. That's tough.
You have a great attitude about it.

Juliana | October 1, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Wow, this post made me cry, because it is so heart-rendingly true. Here's to new friendships and an ever changing cycle of love.

Luann | October 1, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Hugs, my friend.

Heidi Ashworth | October 1, 2008 at 5:03 PM

I have so been there. On both sides of the equation. My daughter is going through something similar with her best friend. I think, sometimes, we just grow out of one another. It's very hard, though. I'm glad to hear that it doesn't hurt anymore. : )

Connie | October 1, 2008 at 10:49 PM

"But because I knew you, I have been changed for good ..."

I remember when you were going through this separation from your friend and thinking how sad for your friend. She's really missing out. I love the lyrics from the song in your post. I can relate to the above line. I have been changed for good because I know you...if you call gray hair good.
You're a great friend and co-worker.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel | October 2, 2008 at 10:00 AM

I've lost a friend once and it was not easy, so I appreciate this post. I admire that you recognize it's time to end a friendship that has become an unhealthy burden. I admire you even more for knowing that even though it eventually ended it helped you become a better person while it lasted.

I just have to tell you that I think it's awesome that you quoted Wicked. I love that musical. I took my daughter to see it down in LA a year or so ago and it was a great Mom-daughter experience.

charrette | October 3, 2008 at 11:40 PM

I think it's great you had the guts to email her, even after so much time has passed, and address it. My biggest regret after the time something similar happened in MY life was that I was too young and immature to follow up. I've lived with a lot of sadness and confusion and unanswered questions...because I was afraid to ask, to confront, and also, I guess by default, to heal.

I like to hope that if this happens to me now I'll have the guts to handle it differently.

Mrs4444 | October 7, 2008 at 8:15 PM

Yes, that's true; not all relationships are meant to last forever. It still comes as kind of a surprise, though, when they do end. However, some relationships are too much maintenance and not enough payoff.

Curly | October 12, 2008 at 9:02 PM

Like Dad always said...friends come and go, but family is forever. I am so glad you are my sister and that we will never grow apart. Your friendship loss was so hard. Sorry if I was mad at the time, but I couldn't let someone hurt you without feeling the pain too.