This year 2022 has for me been a year of losses. I have lost quite a lot of valuables. Two of them hurt the most. One of the two is still a chapter hard to read from. Let’s turn the pages for now, we shall come back to it another day. The other one, is now a dried wound that we can peel off even though the scar will for a long time remind me of the regret of losing my friend. Through the storm, I realized that there’s stigma around grief when it comes to friendship breakups. Platonic relationships are so undervalued that people underestimate what a big deal it is to lose a friend. Okay, normally, friendships ebb and flow; people drift from friendships on influence of varying circumstances. Interests could change for instance. Distance and lack of communication in other cases, disconnection, unresolved conflict, broken trust…etcetera. Different people experience different shifts. It’s not cast in stone that people should have the same friends their whole lives, but it’s also not to mean that it doesn’t get uncomfortable when you lose a friend. It’s as hard as losing a romantic partner. Sometimes you never realize the emotional impact it has until you lose one. And especially when they leave you with a clear understanding of why they’re breaking things off.
I lost my friend in January. At first, I downplayed my feelings thinking he would come around. That he was going to miss me. Because there was no way out of our friendship. There was no replacing me. How would he in a world where there’s no other me? Well, that’s true. There might be no other me but I realized there’s definitely an abundance of better than me out there. I confirmed that when he never came around. When he never reciprocated the effort to repair and rekindle the vibe. It hurt to come to terms with the fact that he really meant OUT.
It pained me to lose him. Because to me, it felt like the bond went down the drain out of a mere mishap in communication and he didn’t find me worth fighting for. Looking back now, it feels like he was always ready to lose me like Manchester United is Ready to lose CR7, while I thought I was the engine of the comradeship. You know, like the Thomas Party of Arsenal. This, for the record, is not the kind of pain that you talk about to the friends you both share. First, because you do not want those friends to have to choose between you and your ex-friend. So you hang in there silently respecting their decision to leave. And secondly because It’s a pain that’s embarrassing. You do not want to show them that one of them found you pathetic and underserving. It’s too embarrassing. Like showing up late for an interview, with a thin sweat dripping over your visage and crusties in the corner of your eyes, apologising, trying to find composure. Embarrassing.
The truth is, through all those months of going over my intentions, I haven’t yet found one that is so unforgivable. I understand he felt betrayed by something I said. And that was his right. However to me, when I was saying it, the intention was not to humiliate or hurt him. Having him describing how my actions irked him, made me realize that whether or not I had the best intentions, it didn’t invalidate his feelings and reactions.
Gradually, I learnt to deal with the unpremeditated turn of events as painful as it was. The pain has faded since but I miss him. I miss running ideas by him because he served the best and most sound advice. He applauded progress without feeling intimidated whatsoever and extended criticism in the most positive of ways. Through the lose, my prize has been discovering there’s value in seasons of friendships, the importance of staying rooted to ones values while respecting the values of the other party in a friendship, and that it’s okay to leave when and if your boundaries are not respected. It’s okay.
I have lost friends before and others have lost me. I only never imagined it could hurt until I lost this one.
And that, they say is how life happens.
We learn to be and do better, through loss.