What would you do if a friend of 40 years suddenly stopped talking?
No phone calls, no letters, no explanation, no nothing.
It will be three years in December since I last talked to my friend. I’ve been alternately sad, hurt and angry at various times, but Thursday was the worst. Perhaps it was the mutual acquaintance I ran into the day before who shared that he had seen my friend a month ago, had lunch with her, and had been invited to her place up north to “hang out” for a day.
Okay, so you’re alive and keeping in touch with other friends, but…
He doesn’t know that we haven’t talked in a long time, that his words carved up my heart. I didn’t feel it right away…work kept my mind going in a different direction. Then Thursday came around and I felt the horrible pain of not knowing and realization of loss.
You see, I don’t know what I did or didn’t do, or what she thought I did or didn’t do to begin the silence. I haven’t known for almost three years. I can’t imagine the “why”, the possible cause wobbling around in my brain cells from time to time without resolution.
Why did you leave me with a huge, open-ended question mark?
This friend and I, we worked together many years ago and that is when we became more than co-workers. We started living personal life together. We suffered through bad marriages. I helped her escape hers, then she helped me escape mine. We both dealt with a failing elderly parent in hospice. I went to her mother’s funeral, but she has no idea that my mother is gone. We are opposites in personality, but value our faith. We’ve had differences before, but nothing that ever split us apart.
I don’t understand how you can throw away 40 years without a word.
This is so f**king hard, so terribly f**king hard. It’s nothing that an adult refreshment or bar of dark chocolate or a bike ride through the woods will resolve. It’s nothing that anyone or a wish upon a star can fix.
At first I would call and leave messages. “Hey, it’s me. Haven’t talked to you in a while, but heard you moved. Would love to hear your voice, so give me a call. Okay, bye.” After a few times, I decided it was up to her to call back, but it never happened. Almost a year after I talked to her last, I tried sending a card, but the forwarding order at the Post Office had expired. It came back to me. After that, I gave up and hoped that she would call or write…one day.
I didn’t really give up on you, friend. I think about you from time to time and it always leaves me feeling down. I stopped calling you because friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way Mary street. It’s your turn.
So, with Friday came the realization that time would have to lessen the feeling of disappointment and I would have to find a way to let go of an old friendship. Time to move on and enjoy what I have in life.
I have been blessed with so many wonderful, new friendships in the last ten years – through neighbors, co-workers, bloggers and church peeps – that it’s not as if I have to move on alone. I have other long-term friendships that have sustained me. I suspect, being a somewhat social person, I will make new friends in the future. Life is good in so many ways that when I thought of it upon a bicycle seat Saturday night, my eyes moistened with a sense of joy and peace.
I hope you have that same joy and peace, my friend, and I do wish you happiness. It’s all we really want, right? So, if our friendship no longer brings happiness to your life, I’m okay with letting go. Perhaps one day, God will help reconcile your desire to be silent.