Sunday, April 29, 2012


"We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence." ~Joseph Roux

As more and more time passes, I find that I have more and more moments of missing people from my past. Friends. Family. Former In-laws. The list of all those people who, for so many different and personal reasons, faded away from my life. Some had drifted as a result of normal life events, such as time and distance, and those I don't find myself necessarily missing as acutely (although I do often drift off thinking about where they may be now), but the ones that cause me to ache are the ones that I've lost since Mike died.  

This was the surprise part of grief that I never expected, nor did anyone prepare me for, the loss of so many people who I thought I was close to, people I thought were going to be there for me no matter what. It was when these people walked out of my life, some quietly (some not so much)-- it was these losses that hurt, and continue to hurt the most.

It's funny, in a way, I mourned my husband's death. I found ways to cope and heal, and places to find support to help me do so. And so at this point, although I will always have a part of that grief and loss with me, I don't feel it affects me or my life on a daily basis anymore. I've found a way to make peace and move on. Yet.... yet it is the pain from these unexpected secondary losses that doesn't seem to ever go away. I don't really know how to express it, nor how to resolve it.

Do I try to track down the people that quietly slipped out of my life? What would I say to them if I did? Send them an email and asked them what they've been up to since I last saw them? Awkward, considering the last time I saw or spoke with some of them was at Mike's funeral.

And how about the people who said they would be there for me, and all I had to do was call, and yet when I did, I only ever got a voice-mail? Over time I just stopped calling, because they never returned my calls anyway. What do you say to them -- why didn't you want to talk to me? And why did you lie to me and said you would always be there if you didn't want to be? Again, awkward.

Or how about the friends that decided the best way to end the friendship was to make up an imaginary wrong I did to them, to justify ending years (or decades) of friendship? What do you say to them? Do you confront them and force them to admit that they just wanted to justify ending the friendship without feeling bad about leaving me when I most needed a friend?

And then there is the whole sticky family situation. His family in particular is one big relationship I don't know how to resolve, and wish there was a way to just end quietly. We didn't have any children, so it is obvious there is no reason, per say, to try to stay connected. If we had a close relationship, then ok, but after more than two years of virtual silence, I feel that there is none. I suppose I could have tried harder, but at the time I was so very hurt by some of their actions, and I couldn't deal with their grief on top of my own. And by the time I was better able to handle the situation, the damage was done. What do I do about them? I don't wish anyone ill will, and many times wish it were different, but then again, I never wanted or expected to lose Mike in the first place either -- it's not like I had a choice in the matter.

I can't really begin to express the complete pain and anguish all of these losses have caused me. And how many hours I continue to go over in my head things that happened, conversations had, fights that were started -- dissecting every detail of every interaction I had before and after his death.... trying to find a reason, a why... perhaps something I did. Or didn't do. I by no means believe I acted perfectly to everyone I ever knew, but I do think that perhaps I deserved a little slack, considering I had just lost my husband. I was in shock for such a long time, I don't even recall anything I did, let alone said to some of these people. But I did believe that if someone was genuinely a friend, or part of your family, that they would understand and could possibly forgive me if I caused offense. Or at the very least they get mad and confront you, but ultimately your friends and family forgive you, and you them, and then you move on. They don't just walk out of your life.

So maybe they weren't really my friends. That would be the easiest way to think about it. But the hard part, is that I don't really believe that is true either. I know that at one time or another, we had genuine relationships. I shared different parts of my life with each of them, at different times, and I know that it was real at the time. 

Some people say that you have certain friends during different times of your life, and then at other times they no longer fit, but it doesn't mean that what you had wasn't real. But it doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt to think about them gone, either.

I don't really know how to move on from the memory of these people, some who I've known since I was still just a kid, and others who I knew as an adult, but with whom I shared so much with. As my life has moved on, I am finally experiencing what are supposed to be some of life's most wonderful events. I've gotten remarried and now am expecting my first child in just a few months. It's during these moments that I long for, and ache for some of my old friends. This is not to disparage the new friends I've made, or to somehow imply that they are not as important to me as my old friends, but there is something completely irreplaceable about losing someone you've shared a history with. Someone who was there during all those bad times. These are the people you long to share the good times with as well. To stand together and be able to say, "Look how far I've come" and they can nod and agree, because they were there for you for it all. Instead I have one group of friends who I knew before the bad times and one group from during and after, but the two don't go together. The only person who bridges that divide is myself, and that can sometimes make me feel so very lonely, no matter how many people continue to be in my life.

"There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all."

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