It’s hard to let someone go when we don’t know why they’re gone. It’s natural to want an explanation, an understanding, something that puts their leaving into perspective. It’s hard to move on when there is nothing but silence, or worse, a strangely formal way of relating, as though you made the whole thing up. But we can’t put our lives on hold, waiting for an answer that may never come. Maybe they will tell us one day, or maybe they will never understand it themselves. Their reason isn’t that important. What is important is that we don’t abandon ourselves in the heart of loss. That we don’t make another’s presence more important than our own. That we don’t lock ourselves in a prison of our own making, waiting for an external liberator to set us free. If they have left, we have to leave, too. We have to let the pain through the holes they left behind so it can find its ultimate destination. Our precious life waits on no one.
(From: Jeff brown: http://www.soulshaping.com)
The topic of friendship comes up frequently for those of us that are experiencing mental and/or physical health issues. Friendship… An elephant trampling around in my brain, my heart and my soul. It rarely takes a break. I keep hoping it will bust out or give up. Just let go, just move on, just stop thinking about it. That’s about as easy to do as ignoring a tick that has latched on to your skin, burrowing deeper, feeding off your blood, growing bigger by the day, while you watch its bright red infection spread through your veins.
I had a few friends from my previous place of employment who have slowly drifted away. Another friend of 20 plus years that has left me in a state of emptiness, unwilling to talk to talk to me, unwilling to understand and forgive. It’s a confusing and very sad place to be. No conversations, no explanations, no answers. They probably aren’t even thinking about it. There is no elephant knocking around in their brains, no tick slowly sucking the life out of them. Why? Because life must change? Because I must learn some new lesson?
I shared my deepest secrets with them. I explained my health issues. I trusted. As someone who experiences depression and anxiety, letting go of these friends is far easier said than done. I’m left feeling guilty, insecure, defeated… To put my heart and soul out there again is a daunting task. One that I’m not sure I’m up to just yet. I like this statement by Jeff Brown, for there are holes in my heart left behind by these people. And the pain isn’t just seeping in… It’s pouring in, filling my heart so full that I fear it may burst. I don’t know where the ultimate destination of that pain will be. And what will I do to patch up the holes once the pain settles? It is my precious life and my precious life deserves better.
Change… I can accept that life changes. This isn’t the first thing in my life to change. The definition of a friend is, I won’t accept that as the force behind such thoughtlessness, such a feeble excuse for leaving a friend.
Lessons… Believe me, I’m learning from this. This lesson, however, does not excuse the behaviors of these former friends. This is a lesson for me. This is a lesson about the choices others make in responding to my illnesses. They are choosing to gaslight me and to dismiss compassion and understanding. And that is on them, not me. They are making the wrong choice. Perhaps this lesson is the beginning of filling up those puncture wounds left in my heart. This is me, accepting that the true fault lies with them. If you don’t want to walk with me, then get out of my way.
As I sit here writing this, I am also thinking about an invitation from one of these ‘friends’ to attend a dinner get-together. Someone who hasn’t bothered to talk to me in, I don’t know how many months. I don’t have any idea why she even invited me. As I’ve been debating for days whether or not to go, the thought that comes to my mind over and over again is this: Does SHE deserve to have ME there?