We haven’t spoken since the day I saw you at my son’s funeral. I lost him, and I lost you. I miss you both.
While I have thought about reaching out since that day, I know that it’s better I don’t. I am not entirely sure what I would say, but I can predict what you would hear.
You would hear the words of a mother who lost her only son, grieving the life she wish she had. And you would interrupt and talk about how hard life has been for you.
You’d complain about your children, the ones you planned, and wanted, and still get to hold. You’d continue on about life’s injustices, how your husband hadn’t been promoted or how your parents didn’t support you as much as you’d hoped.
And I would listen. And I would empathize. All the while thinking how lucky you are, and how you will never appreciate it.
I mourned the loss of our friendship. But I don’t miss the way you always made sure to tell everyone how your life was worse, how your journey was harder, and how tragedy followed you everywhere.
I would say sorry and we would part ways. And I would remember how very blessed that I am.
Because I have suffered injustices. And my life at times, is very, very hard. And comparatively, my losses are bigger and more traumatic than just about everyone I know.
But I try, with all the faith and strength I have, not to succumb to playing the victim, to feeling sorry for myself, to lose my empathy for everyone else dealing with hardship.
I can no longer be your friend. And for that, I feel sad, and ashamed.
Because I have an army of individuals who truly care about me, my feelings, my family, and my well-being. And I, in turn, care about them. I may, oftentimes, take more than I give. But they love me anyway.
That, to me, is what friendship should be. Loving one another through the toughest times and the measurable successes. Listening when someone needs an ear. Contributing when someone needs a boost.
We have so much history between us. Decades of memories, big moments where we depended on one another. I review those memories often, and I feel nostalgic. Nostalgic for my youth and innocence, and for the ability to forgive faults. I am faulty, too. Far, far from perfect. But I can no longer be your cheerleader. I have to be my own.
I know many of my friends, when we first lost our son, were timid about sharing joys and hardships over parenting. We had lost our only child. And they were in the same stage of raising their own. But with every new addition, and each new year of watching these kids grow, I get to see what could have been. And I feel so lucky to be any part of each of those little people’s lives.
I am so, so blessed. With or without you. I wish things could have been different, in so many ways. I wish my son were still alive on this Earth. And I wish we could have stayed friends.
So if you ever find yourself missing me, please remember, I am missing you, too. But sometimes history and longevity just aren’t enough. I wish for you all the things you feel you don’t have.
I forgive you. And I’ll never forget you. But I have allowed myself to grieve our friendship. And I choose to keep moving forward, happily as I can, with those who choose me too.