Monday, May 27, 2013

How do we feel when a friend leaves us?

We have known each other for 35 years. And now she is leaving.  Her eyes sparkle. She and her husband are moving to Colorado to be near their grown daughters. She wants me to share her excitement.

And part of me truly does rejoice for her. But at the same time, it's all I can do to hold back my tears. I feel bereft. She’ll be gone.

We call that person who loses his father, an orphan; and a widow is someone who loses her spouse. But what of the person who knows the heartache of losing a friend? By what name do we call her? We have no special words; no rituals to express our grief. 

Losing a friend can come at any age, but somehow the loss hits us harder as we get older. Maybe it’s because, as the old saying goes, “A good friend is like a tree; it takes a long time to grow one.”

Our deepest friendships bring so much more than the social chitchat of people I call my “Friendlies.”  Anais Nin wrote, ”Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

My friend and I have had such a special world. We tell each other things we tell no one else, not our husbands, not our children, not other friends. We share our mutual spiritual journeys.  We feel safe to confess our foibles to each other. We laugh together! 
We comfort each other.  We easily say “I love you.” 

I know my friend will always feel deep affection for me, and I for her. 
But it won’t be the same.
She no longer will live 1.2 miles from me. No longer be someone I pick up to go places. No longer be the person I see almost weekly; the friend I know is “there.”

So I remind myself, 
Friendship is like
    Intertwined branches.
We grow toward the sun
    In similar fashion.
Our branches blossom.
But we are not one tree.