Saturday, December 18, 2010

#reverb10 - Day 16 – Friendship

“December 16 – Friendship - How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?”  (Author: Martha Mihalick)

This is a difficult one. Painful.

I moved to the Sacramento Area twenty years ago with my now ex-husband. I was fortunate to meet some fabulous people at my workplace and develop some amazing relationships. I remarried a man with children and had my daughter. The business I worked in was 24/7/365 so I opted to become a stay-at-home-mom and leave my job. One by one my friends moved on with their lives and out-of-state. I maintain long distance relationships with the majority of them through e-mail and Facebook, but it isn’t the same by any means. It’s been very difficult for me because I’ve never been in a place where I didn’t have any friends to spend time with.

All of these friendships are different and nourish me in different ways. They share few similarities. Cathy was the friend I always had lunch with and shopped with. We would often have a crafting and baking day over the holidays. She had an incredible sense of humor and always made me laugh. She was always there for me and I for her. She had a heart condition and I was there for her surgery, recovery and future medical emergencies. One afternoon she called to say she wanted to drop by to say goodbye. She was leaving the next morning for Texas.

My best friend was gone. I looked around and while I had a few acquaintances, I didn’t have any friends left. I felt abandoned and alone.

Once she was settled in Texas, we began to share long phone calls that lasted for hours. We talked at least once a week; sometimes more…I had no one here. My daughter and I made two road trips across the Southwest over the years to visit.

Eventually I would receive an indecipherable e-mail from her. Hoping that she had just spilled a glass of iced tea on her keyboard, I gave her a call. I couldn't understand a word she said. I insisted she call 911, but she refused. She always did that. She always refused to get treatment when she needed it. I hung up the phone and started making calls to get someone to her home and check on her. She’d had a stroke. It’d been two days. Too late for the doctors to do much for her. Physical and speech therapy helped, but permanent damage had been done.

I continued to make weekly calls until earlier this year. I’ve always been the kind of friend to allow others to make their own decisions, their own choices and manage their own lives no matter how I may have felt about it. I was always there to pick up the pieces when everything came crashing down. During our last conversation she shared a recent decision she’d made and I saw another train wreck coming. It wasn’t one I hadn’t seen more than a few times before and I questioned whether I could pick up the pieces again.

I missed making our usual call the following week—not entirely on purpose. A second, third and fourth week went by. She didn’t call me either. I must admit that I felt a little slighted. I had initiated hundreds of calls to her.

Before I knew it, months had passed. I had not received even a whisper from Cathy. I felt extremely guilty for not calling her. That is until I realized that our calls no longer left me feeling nourished, relaxed, happy or peaceful. She so often put herself down. I felt guilty until I realized that if she valued herself and our friendship; she could have just as easily called me and would have. She has never even tried making contact with my daughter, her name sake, which breaks my heart.

I value friendship greatly. I do not use that word lightly and it saddens me that I had to choose to let this one go. With her health significantly deteriorating since the stroke, I can only imagine that she, perhaps, is no longer with us.

I’ll never really know.

1 comment:

  1. >Your story, though sad, has beauty in it because of the honest telling of it. I'm sorry you have lost this friend in this way. I've had similar experiences, it's hard to let go but I think it's important to do it -- for everyone involved.


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