06 March 2015

Friendship

Way back in the Seventies, when I was a child, I made a friend.  Our lives were intertwined by school and similar interests.  In our twenties as we tried to work out who we were I disappeared into the countryside to work and live in a tent* whilst my friend immersed herself in the London club culture working for a record label.  Our lives couldn't have been more different then and now but through it all we have remained friends.

We became pregnant with our second children at the same time, due a few weeks apart.  I knew when I did not hear anything for several weeks after my daughter was born that something was terribly wrong.  I reached out to the silence and was devastated that her baby had died during delivery.  We talked often on the phone, I have no idea how she got through that time.

Late last year she moved from London, her home for over twenty years, to a remote (by UK standards) farmhouse and a few weeks ago we went to visit.  We talk on the phone a lot but have spent little time in each others company since becoming mothers, one or two days a year at most.  Our last visit was for four days.

After I left I reflected.  I became aware during my visit that there was a gentle shift, almost imperceptible.  My presence, my words were giving cause for irritation.  The words were edgy and a touch hurtful.  Sadly, I couldn't wait to leave,  I always want to retreat when words become hurtful.

My reflections led me into confusion.  I realised that the differences in our lives had created a gulf that until now we had managed to bridge, could we carry on.  Had I touched a nerve, a deep seated, unrecognised unhappiness.  To walk away now could be unkind.

It is easy, isn't it to view a friendship through the rose tinted glasses of the past.  We hang on to those long ago memories of time shared, but are they enough to sustain a relationship.  Some don't last the passage of time, as we grow, move on and change, they are left and new ones are built in their place.

My life is simple, uncomplicated.  I am happy and content, I sleep well at night.  But I don't stand in judgement of those that live differently to me, even if they are tired and unhappy.  Perhaps the best thing is to be there, steadfast, like the joke that Cameron told me this week:

What kind of ship doesn't sink?

Friendship

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* I did spend February to September for two years living in a tent

12 comments:

  1. Friendships are like delicate flowers that can wither easily despite all the care you give them. I am sorry to read that you and your friend have drifted apart. Your friend maybe is feeling like you, reflecting, saddened a little. Maybe you'll be gently floating towards each other once more, now that you have seen each other again, despite the tenseness of the meeting. Going back to the plant analogy, some take a long long time to make new flowers. Some may only flower once. I am wishing you luck and a great weekend. x

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  2. I am sorry about your time with your friend. You sound a lot like me, in that I tend to retreat, maybe hide, when things become hurtful. Long term friendships always experience growing pains, as each person grows and changes. Sometimes those relationships survive the changes and sometimes they don't. I think the key is knowing when to walk away, if the relationship is draining to you, and when to stay, ready to hold a hand if it is needed.

    I like that joke :) Enjoy your weekend.

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  3. It sounds like you've been through a lot together, and hopefully this rough patch will pass.

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  4. Pinched my heart a bit. This post hits close to home- I think we all in some way might grow in out of touch with our friendships- how can we not, we all change. Beautifully written. I dig that you lived in a tent.
    Have the best weekend ;)

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  5. It is a lot of work maintaining friendships over the long haul, and I sometimes wonder if it's worth it. But it's also a sad loss to lose one that has been so important for so long. Maybe your friend was just having a bad day, or is still at work processing her own grief. I think being there for someone, even when it isn't easy, even when they don't seem to want it, is a good and noble thing to do, and when your friend is ready to be close again, she will value your steadfastness. Hang in there!

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  6. How sad that your long friendship seems to you to be fading away. Could you ask her what if anything has happened and what if anything you could do to put things right? It is sometimes easier to continue such a friendship from a distance - by phone or letters or e-mails than actually to be together in person and it might be that things will get back on an even keel eventually. What we never know in such a situation is what might have happened or be going on in the friend's life that is nothing to do with us but that is causing problems for our friend. You are good with words and might it be easier to put into writing your concerns and she what she has to say perhaps? I guess the only thing to do if you value the friendship is to remain steadfast and be there for her and wait and see. I hope things work out for you both.

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  7. I understand and agree with you. Friendship it's something wonderful but it can be painful sometimes. As we grow as human beings and souls we change and all those things we had in common with some people they aren't anymore so. .. sometimes we just need to let them go and keep the nice memories in our hearts.

    Happy weekend!!

    Lluisa xoxo

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  8. It must have been disappointing to meet up with your old friend and find that things just didn't 'click'. I would have been hurt too as I can be very sensitive to slights from others. It is sad when friendships ebb, but they can just as easily re-ignite so hopefully you will come through this awkward patch. xxx

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  9. friendships are a type of relationship, and they're hard. they don't always last, and sometimes we don't know why. focus on the positive memories you have.

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  10. It's always sad when such a long held friendship fades and I hope that it isn't happening for your sake, but I also know that I had a friend who had her baby the day I was miscarrying mine and I just couldn't cope and we drifted apart. She was immersed in the world of her new baby and wanted to talk babies and while I was happy for her on one level I was broken and hurting at the same time. Is it possible that for your friend, your daughter is just too strong a reminder of what she lost?

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  11. Oh yes, I know that shift, too. Sometimes its not so much walking away from someone as it is allowing someone to walk away from us :) Not always easy to be sure. XO

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  12. It's never an easy place to find yourself. Having been in that position, it seems like a lot, in the last few years, you come to see friendships as waves. Tides bring them in and out, they fluctuate, swells build up, waves crash fiercely, storms murk the sand and waters, but in the end, the sea always calms down and the sun comes out. Sometimes, the best thing to do is walk away, but never to far I think. I hope you find that common road again.

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