Fifteen years ago, almost to the day, was the worst day of my life.
I have had awful days since, but all of them were expected and explained. This particular one really hurt. Maybe because it was the first of its kind, and the first cut is the deepest. And the silly thing was, it was just the end of the end of a friendship.
Sometimes friends drift out of your life, even when you don't want them to. And this, for me, was the end of the drifting. For a long time I didn't know how to cope. So I just became super busy (it was a speed I kept up all through high school to be honest). I distracted myself. I trash talked my ex-best friend, and yet, desperately wanted to talk about him too. This went on for three or four months. And all I did was show anger. I was so angry with myself, and with anyone else I could blame, that I was really not a very nice person when I had to have my mask up.
I don't really know how it happened, but one night at church I found myself confiding in an older lady who taught me that I was actually in a period of grief. She said even though my friend hadn't died, the loss of a friend and a friendship is an okay think to grieve. And she gave me the book Good Grief, which talks about about little and big grief. This one was little, and it basically said it was okay to be mad and sad.
I'm not sad and mad anymore. And a few weeks after that chat, I reconciled with my friend, but, of course, it was never ever the same again. I didn't want it to go back to where I had been six months ago, because that me had changed too much. Not all of it for good, but enough that said, there is so much more out there.
As life went on, I have faced this again and again. Friends for a season, and friends for a reason, they have all come and gone, none so dramatically, but enough for me to lament about it every now and then.
Has it been easier though?
If I could tip my chair back and think for five minutes, I'd probably have the same answer.
Yes, and no.
Sometimes I really miss certain times in my life. I have written about YITS a lot, and I miss my friends I had then. But now we are all very different. We don't have hours between lectures to spend together. Everyone is at a different point of their life and their faith journey, and it wouldn't be fair to say 'I'd like to be friends with ____, circa 2005'. I miss my friendships from high school, but we're not friends because that common interest and knowledge has slipped away. I miss being super close with some people, but distance, and gender and relationships all make a different. And it is okay for those people to put in boundaries.
On the other hand, on that day all those years ago, I had really put all my eggs in one basket. I was waiting for someone who a) wasn't waiting on me and b) didn't want any eggs in the basket anyway. I think sometimes about how lucky I was that that time of my life ended when it did. I started feeling okay about working Saturday nights, which I loved, or I went to my other youth group at Eastside, where I made some wonderful friends.
I often failed to see the negative side of my friendship. My friend could be bitchy and nasty at the best of times. He didn't like any of my friends at school. It was always just us, or one other person, and the isolation wasn't a good thing. When the end of the end happened, I had spent an entire school holidays waiting for him to come and see me, which he promised to do. The one time I was not dragged out of the house or had to do errands he came around.
That, my friends, had to be fate or karma, or something.
I often miss certain seasons or days or weeks of my life. As in, if time travel was available, I'd go back and revisit. This is one of the times I wouldn't go back to. I learned many a lesson the hard way through this friendship, and so I am grateful for that.
Good Grief says that when you go through a grief experience, you will come out a different person, whether that be for the best or the worst. I like to think the best of me is what was left.