Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heartbreak--My Messy Beautiful

silhouetted wisteria at sunset

I hesitated to write about today's topic even though my story has a happy ending. It's very personal. I'm also pretty sure that the person I'm going to write about reads this blog--so that's awkward. Despite these things, I'm going to give it a try because I'd like to see if I can put it all into words.

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When my family moved into a new neighborhood the summer before I entered fifth grade, there was one kid my age in the neighborhood. She was a year younger than I, and we quickly became friends. Best friends.

She practically lived at my house, except when I was at hers. We slept over more times than I can count. She vacationed with my family. When we were separated by family vacations, we wrote each other letters every day and exchanged them when we returned. When I left for college, we wrote each other several times each week and continued to do so for years. We visited each other at college. We worked together during summer break. She was a part of me.

Until she stopped taking my calls.

During her final year of college, she met someone. I should say: she met Someone and fell in love. She called me in the spring to tell me she was getting married. I did not handle it well. She was the first of my friends to become engaged, I was shocked she'd do so at such a young age, and I didn't know much about her relationship. I acted poorly and questioned her judgment.

I'm certain that I didn't think through my response. Even if I had, I probably would have spoken my mind anyway. We were that kind of friends--the ones who tell each other anything and everything. In my immaturity, I failed to realize that such permission does not extend to comments about your best friend's Someone.

I don't remember a fight. There may have been one. I don't know. What I remember is her absence. No letters. No calls. I would call her, and her roommates would say that my best friend didn't want to talk to me and wouldn't come to the phone. It was the worst break-up I've ever experienced, and that includes the year I didn't talk to the man I later married.

After many months of complete silence, I was shocked to receive an invitation to the one wedding in which I always thought I'd serve as maid of honor. To this day, my friend's wedding remains one of the most emotional days of my life. I grieved the relationship we no longer had yet was grateful I'd been invited to participate. During her special day, my friend allowed me some baby steps toward reconciliation.

I followed up those baby steps with a very long letter, in which I apologized for my insensitivity, wished her the best, and hoped we could resume our friendship. We did, but it has never been what it once was. We care about each other, we share a past, but we are not essential to one another the way we once were. I'm grateful for what we do have because, although our lives have gone in different directions than we anticipated, she is still a part of who I am.

For a postscript to this post, see the follow-up here.



  1. Wow...this made me cry. Love both of you


    1. Thanks, Jill. Can you believe this happened nearly 20 years ago? It is so fresh in my memory, as are most emotional experiences.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I had a 20-year friendship that ended abruptly and without warning, and I still feel a bit broken by it. We are -- as humans -- quick to talk about love relationships that end, but I've experienced that a friendship break is just as painful, confusing, and fraught with emotion. XO

    1. Absolutely. I wonder why that is. As young people, our parents remind us to keep our girlfriends close--that boys will come and go but friends are forever. Maybe we expect most of the dating relationships to end but not friendships, especially those cultivated over so much time.

  3. This is my favorite post from the link-up, and I am sure I will stand by this. I think it takes great bravery to share a story so personal, so raw, and be honest. This breaks my heart for you, I am currently going through the loss of a best friend despite our best efforts we're just slipping you know.. and i can't help but wonder when it will all turn to memory.. so this? this just digs into my heart.

  4. Thank you for sharing. I feel like I've had a similar experience with a very close friend. One thing that changed it all. You were strong to write that letter and reach out. xoxo

  5. I think many can relate to this... I know I can. thank you for telling your story.


  6. Thank you for your post. It is honest, and brave. As I get older I think that all of us has had "one of those friends." We learn, we grow, and we form new friendships. We never forget the people who have touched our lives.

  7. Thank you for your brutiful brave! This is so courageous of you!

  8. This is really beautiful. Thanks I was quite moved and can relate.