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