Home > Baring My Soul, Friends, From the Heart > Losing friends

Losing friends

It seems to be a recurring theme in my life.

I get close to someone, and then one day, when I least expect it, they’re gone.

When I was a child, I lost friends because my parents were constantly moving. They didn’t just move across town, they’d move us across the state, to another school district, and too far away from our previous home to constantly run us kids back and forth for “play dates” (which wasn’t even a term back then).

When they divorced, it got worse, because my father moved to PA, while my mother, sister and I stayed in DE. My dad moved to a rural area, with no neighbors, and since I didn’t attend school there, I had no friends there. I was relegated to hanging out with my step-brother. Luckily, my dad and step-mother coordinated their weekends so that all of us kids were with them at the same time. If not, I would have been one thoroughly bored kid!

My mother moved us around a couple of times, then we finally settled into one place for a couple of years.  I finally made some close friends. I had a best friend, for the first time in my life. I also had my first boyfriend – my first real love. Then ~whoosh!~ the rug got pulled out from under me again, when my mother decided to move to NC, so she could be closer to the PTL Club (that’s a whole other fish to fry, another time). I had very little time to process things, and lost my best friend and my boyfriend in the blink of an eye. Sure, I tried to keep in contact with them, but if you think long-distance relationships are hard on adults, imagine how hard it was for teenagers! With no internet, no unlimited long distance phone calls … yeah, not happening.

I lasted a couple of months in NC. First, I was having problems dealing with my mother and sister (explosive would be an understatement). Second, I was having problems handling the bigotry of the kids I was in school with, toward a “Yankee” … which was ironic, since I was from DE, which is south of the Mason Dixon line, thereby making it a southern state.  But anyway, I moved to PA to live with my father.

High school was not a fun time of life for me. I hated the majority of the kids I went to school with, but learned how to deal with it. I made a couple of really close friends there.

One of the friends I made was a year behind me. She and I got really close, really quickly. It was her first year there as a transfer student from another state, and it was my last year of a school that I barely tolerated. We just hit it off as friends, because we shared many of the same feelings and interests. Just before the end of the school year, we had our prom. On the way home from prom, her car was struck by a drunk driver. I lost her that night. I still haven’t recovered, emotionally, from that, and it’s been over 20 years!

I still had two of my very best friends, though.  My female best friend was the Maid of Honor for my first wedding. For almost 10 years, she and I stayed close, geographically and emotionally. Then, one day, she moved away. We tried to stay close, but the distance made things really hard. Again, no internet, no unlimited long distance calls. I made it a point to visit her once, when I vacationed in the area she was living. But I could tell things had changed between us. Even though we’ve reconnected on Facebook, it’s not the friendship we used to have. And to be honest, I’m not sure what happened. I don’t think either of us did anything to actively dismantle the friendship, I think it just fizzled. Which makes me wonder, how close were we, really?

My male best friend was as close as a brother to me. In fact, that’s how we referred to each other when meeting new people. I loved him as much as you can love a friend. I was questioned once, by my first husband, about the nature of our friendship (“is there something more going on?”), we were so close.  [Just to set the record straight: NO! that would have been almost incestual for me!]  He was instrumental in helping me through a rocky first marriage. He was there when I met my Son’s father. Without me, he would have never met his wife.  We were there for each other when we each had a child, 7 months apart, and for the first 3 years of their lives. He was the step-father to the children that I was the step-mother to (long story!). We had our fights … what friendship doesn’t endure lows as well as highs. Our last moment as friends came in November of 2000. We’d been fighting. He came to my house for something related to one of the kids. We talked. Amends were made; friendship repaired. The next morning, he was dead.  My heart breaks every time I think about it. I can’t hear certain songs without sobbing. The pain of losing him is unbearable at times.

But I moved on, the best I could. I made new friends, although hesitantly. I’ve had people I call friends, but are actually closer to acquaintances. I had one friend that I could call a “best friend”, but my relationship with her fizzled after a couple of years.

I re-married, and yes, I do consider my Husband to be my best friend. He is my everything.  But sometimes, you need someone you can be friends with besides your spouse.  Anyway, who are you supposed to talk to if you need to talk about your spouse? 😉

So I made some friends online. I resumed some old friendships online – some from high school, and one friend I’d originally met online who had disappeared for a couple of years.  I was fairly content not getting close to people again. I was tired of giving my heart to someone, only to lose them in the end. I kept my emotional distance, for the most part.

Then I met someone who changed that for me. We became close.  My heart softened. I was ready to let someone in again.  One day, I realized that someone had penetrated the wall I’d built.

And then they were gone. No explanation. Just gone.

  1. July 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I was moved almost to the verge to tears, Shelli. And that’s hard to do. I am with you about the moving place to place– that was like me moving in the middle of my junior year of HS and starting fresh in a different HS. I had very rarely had close friends die suddenly– but it happened to my Mom when she had close friends of hers die on her.I guess I’m lucky but things happen for a reason. I would like to share this blog if you don’t mind because this relates to a wide spectrum of people. I hope you keep your friends closer and you should be lucky that your spouse is your best friend– very few married ppl. could say that! Anyway, great blog!

    • July 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Thank you Brendan. I was in tears almost the whole time writing this. Yes, you may share it; I’m honored that you’d even want to. 🙂

      I do feel very lucky to have the Husband that I have. Like I said, he is my everything. I’m so sorry that your mom has gone through this, too. {{hugs all around}}

  2. July 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    A line from the song Hurt says, “Everyone I know goes away in the end.” Indeed. Sorry it hurts. As for the other fish to fry, fry that sucker, Shellie. Go ahead, chunk it intot he skillet, throw some Mrs. dash on it!

    • July 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      Which artist does that song, Temy?

      I will fry that fish … one of these days. I have a lot of those types of fish to fry. 😉

  3. July 17, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I can relate to the moving thing. I think it was like 5 or 6 States, 21 house and 13 different schools from birth to 18 for me. I hated moving and starting over and readjusting and …and…and.

    I’m sorry about your friend that was as close to you as a brother. That is very sad. I know how hard it can be to let people in and let them get close and then–either they do something unimaginable to betray that friendship or they aren’t who they seemed to be at first. I’ve been there…never fun and never easy. I’m sorry you’ve gone through it. It just doesn’t seem right.

    I hope that you find healing somehow. Cheers, Jenn 🙂

    • July 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

      Jenn, that sounds like about how many times I moved, from birth to date. Seems every year or two I’m moving. I’ve become somewhat of an expert at it! 😀 Usually I stay in the same area, but sometimes I make a drastic move. And I’m not done yet. Thankfully, though, we have the internet now, and can keep up with friends when we move.

      Thank you for your comment and support. It means a lot to me to know that I’m not alone, and that others have gone through something(s) similar. 🙂

  4. July 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I can relate. Just 6 short months out of high school in 1965, my best guy friend was killed in an auto accident with his fiance. They were on their way to get married before he left for Vietnam. Within 3 years, 4 classmates died. My very best friend in high school sided with my first husband when we got divorced in 1971. We reconnected on classmates about 10 years ago, but all I ever hear from her are forwarded emails. I called her on Christmas Day several years ago, however, it was apparent that the call was unwelcome. She is the reason why I did not have any real friends for about 25-30 years. We were like sisters and I was left hurt and untrusting of other people because of her betrayal. Most stunning to me is that all these years later, she told me she never did like my first husband. I bit my tongue…

    As for online friends, I have been fortunate to have found many people who have turned out to be really good friends. Of course there have been a couple…LOL…I won’t go there. I am still very cautious with friendships, however, through facebook, I have reconnected with many high school classmates when I started a high school group for people who graduated in the 60’s from my old alma mater. Sadly, at this time, about a third of my graduating class have died. Of the ones who died young…most died in Vietnam. That pain has never left me.

    It took me many, many years to open up for friendships. Until recent years, I had myself convinced that all I needed was my family, but now I know we need more. I have learned to give people a chance and the results have been mostly wonderful.

    • July 17, 2011 at 2:24 am

      Oh Darlene, I can’t even imagine losing friends to war, especially a war like Vietnam. My heart goes out to you. And wow, I don’t think I’d ever trust the one that sided with your ex. Probably best to drop her off your list. 😦 I’m very cautious about the online friends, because I was burned really badly, twice … once in the early 90’s, and once in the early 2000’s. Since then, my online friendships are casual. Very very rarely do I open up to people I meet online. I may open my mind and my life, but not my heart.

  5. July 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Dear Shelli, I really do relate to much of what you said. I was a loner for many years, for lots of reasons. I do understand the loneliness that this creates. For me the difference is that my wife and I became best friends early on and I must say, that we spend a lot of time in the friendship mode. Over the years I have lost some friends and I still think of them and do miss them. I don’t think that it ever goes away. Great blog. Peace, howie

    • July 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      Howie, that’s how I usually describe myself – as a loner. Sometimes I like it that way, other times I just feel lonely. And, sometimes, I just get pissed off about it.

      I miss seeing you around. ♥ ya!

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