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.