I am struggling to kiss off a forty-year friendship I thought would last my lifetime. Its decline doesn’t need to be outlined here, but someone I used to love dumped me and didn’t say why. It happens, but it’s not fun to let go.
I’m tired of self-examining my character, explaining to myself why she cut me off, looking for personality flaws. My problem is not having closure. If I knew what I did wrong and she gave me the courtesy of a goodbye to my face which a true friend would do, I might feel better, so I’m forced to let go without a confrontation. Much as I try to figure things out, only change is real.
I’m thinking of loss as change, which brings me some comfort. People really do change, and clearly, my old friend is not the one I started out with so long ago, and it seems I’m not the one she started out with, either. I don’t understand why she kicked me to the curb, and I’m not going to know. I have to accept her dismissal. My considerations went deep enough to have been delivered to me in last night’s dream.
I dreamt about purchasing large acreage in a downtown area, and discussed with the previous owner what maintenance would be necessary for such a large space so close to a town. The previous owner said he needed to carry a shotgun when greeting locals who came up to use the restrooms. My old friend who recently dumped me showed up happy, wearing glitter in her hair and a blue jumpsuit, and clearly distracted from me, instead she wanted to see the property. I was glad to see her doing well, and noticed she looked right through me. I woke up knowing my old friend is really gone.
My dream has a group of metaphors: I’m purchasing new ‘property’ and the old owner used protection, like ‘a shotgun’ to feel safe: ‘property’ could be a metaphor for my personality, what I used to be like in the past, defenses I carried with me when dealing with ‘others,’ the image of others ‘using the restroom,’: could be dealing with other people’s issues. My friend’s happy arrival with glitter in her hair: this image could be her new identity with her third husband. Obviously, she doesn’t want my opinion about the speed of her life changes, so she looks through me, which is understandable. Nobody likes to be judged for their fantasies, me included. My opinions must have alienated her and she cut me off.
I know I let things slide, too. I acted like a minion to her needs. For several years she didn’t act like a friend to me anyway, but wanted me to do stuff for her; I thought I helped when I let her stay at my house for a week when I wasn’t there, because she needed a break from her second bad marriage. When we talked on the phone it was usually about what she was dealing with, because she needed to talk about her divorce to anybody who would listen, and I was available. She called me every day for over a year and talked about herself. I provided service to her by listening, She rarely asked about me or what going on in my life, because she was self-involved. She got upset when I spoke up about her whining without offering any solutions, and actually, she almost dumped me the year before, when I didn’t attend an event she felt was important. I felt guilty about that one, and she dumped me then, but not for long. She used me and I let her, because I’d been around forty years and must have felt like a safe person.
I deluded myself and excused her, thinking that my friend really cared about me, because she was in crisis, and I wanted to believe someday she would care about me after her life calmed down. But she didn’t want opinions about her frantic behavior, and I crossed the line. I accept my behavior, and I’m dealing with her cowardice to close up the friendship with honest communication. The way she dismissed me is not really a death, but feels like one.
Like an old car, when the tires wear out, it’s time to change things, and sometimes the car has to go. We kept in touch for forty years, and now it’s over. My world feels smaller and part of me feels amputated. But I have survived the loss of other friendships and I will survive this ending, too.
So, how do I really let go? I need to admit my part in the ending, and I don’t love or like her much anymore. I can watch my emotions randomly come and go throughout each day. When she comes to mind, I can sincerely wish her well, but some things can’t be repaired, It’s none of my business, but I hope that her third marriage makes it as well as my third marriage for twenty-five years. I try not to spin in the past, and pray to be released from negative thoughts today. The next time I start spinning, I’ll have to repeat the process until I’ve worked it through.
I wrote a Goodbye and Bless your Heart note to my old friend, because I needed to formally close up forty years and not run away from her dumping me. I didn’t ask why she cut me off. People change, and I’m different, too. Mainly I’m sad to say goodbye to a forty-year connection with my youth.
We went from girls to women, through the rise and endings of my other two failed marriages, the births of my grown sons, my time of single parenthood and the miracle of my third marriage to a good man. Likewise, I watched her go through her other two marriages and the births of her two grown daughters, too. We made mistakes, but both wanted to stay friends, and work through our disagreements with each other. Not this time. I’m angry to not know why, but we’re headed in two different directions. I’m sad about losing someone I thought of as my friend, but it was her choice, not mine.
Oh well. Let it go. I’ll try and be gracious. May good wishes and grace fly into the air, and I sincerely wish the best for both of us. Time has a way of taking away the sting, so I’ll try to be patient and keep a light heart.