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©May 2005

Carol Jane Remsburg



Reflections of Friendship



A few weeks ago, I lost a friendship, one dear to my heart.  She was busy trying to help another person, one whom I had reservations about.  No, to be honest, I knew my friend would end up getting hurt.  I spoke my piece and didn't try to stop my friend from helping the other party.


What happened was that part of the help my friend was giving also enabled that third party to hurt me.  Oh, my friend was aware of it, didn't take ownership of it, or even say she was sorry.  Our last words were brief and directly to the point, she had no further use for me.  She'll never know the tears I've shed nor the loss I've felt since we parted ways. 


During the first ten days I was a mess.  One day I actually left work just because I couldn't cope, I had to go home and cry—and I rarely cry.  It was a combination of anger and pain with a generous helping of confusion; the confusion stemming from the fact that my friend's actions were totally out of character for her.  She's one of the most level-headed, generous-hearted, and kindly women I've ever met.  She's also funny, engaging, and has an incredible wit.  I've admired her greatly and come to love her very much.  Therefore, her actions are baffling to me beyond the severing of our ties.


Why did she allow the other party to announce a lie about me for many to think was true and then poo-poo it away as if it were nothing.  When I tried to deal with the lie—one my friend knew wasn't true, she ended up mad at me and refused my calls and closed me out.  Why didn't I swallow my pride and keep after her until we resolved it?  Good questions, but no answers.  Keep in mind this lie was made public enough to any of a thousand or more people to read—and they did.  Whether it was believed or not, I don't know. 


My integrity is something I value highly.  To be deemed a liar is a slap in the face—literally.  Call me old school, that's how I was raised.  My word is my bond.  There are such things as telling tall tales with a wink and a nod, but those are normally reserved for ghost-story time around a campfire or something to the equivalent when everyone knows the difference.  This situation wasn't the case at all—not even close, same state, country, or even continent.  If you want, we can push it to galaxy. 


Was I hurt by this action?  The last time I left work in tears before this was when I was miscarrying my child.  I've been working for 30 years.  The loss was akin to a death.


Whether we are young, old, or middle-aged, a good friendship is dear to the heart.  Together you laugh, make memories, and share secrets.  A good friend will always be there for you.  A good friend will be brutally honest with you and then help wipe away your tears, and then you do the same for them.  The loss of a good friendship cuts deep.


Some friendships simply grow apart as people grow up or move away.  Those losses are the easiest to deal with simply because they happen over time.  The abrupt end of a friendship due to a hurt, slight, or miscommunication is a loss not readily repaired or remedied.  Often there isn't anything that can be done. 


You always expect your friend to be there for you and when they suddenly behave in a manner totally at odds with their normal persona, you worry.  That comes after the initial pain of the severed ties. 


Am I worried now?  Yes, just because this wasn't like her—not at all.  I don't mean about the attempt to help someone else, that was totally within her character.  It's the fact that when the third party hurt me, and my friend knew it—it didn't seem so important to her.  If I'd been in her shoes I would have been mad as hell, and would have owned my error.  We all make them, I've learned to accept when I make a mistake.  I knowit wasn't intentional, but I own mine.


So, I'm still missing my friend, wondering what the hell happened.  Part of me is eager to try to call her or send her an email, another part of me absolutely refuses.  It's more than just a pride issue, it's one of integrity and a hidey-hole for my hurt.


If you've ever lost a good friend, you know the pain, the hurt, the confusion, and even the anger.  Once the anger is over, the hurt and confusion still remain and will linger for a long time until you accept that the friendship is actually over.


For anyone who has lost a dear friend this way, hugs to you.  And don't be as dumb as I am, get on the phone and call.  Okay?


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