Death and Friendships (not)

The fact that a decades old friendship is dead in the water and it doesn’t bother me says to me that it’s been floating belly up for some time, and I just never really noticed.

Friendships die for various reasons; it can be something small that suddenly becomes a catalyst, or it can be something big and you just can’t ignore it. 

I guess what really happened that caused me to recently end this particular friendship was the realization that she apparently hasn’t understood a damn thing about me for a long, long time, followed by clarity that made me see that she hasn’t been invested in me, or our friendship, for an equally long time.

The catalyst started over another issue, but quickly degenerated to a crass shit storm of judgements about me, about my grief, about how I’ve handled my grief…and then went even lower with accusations about my husband.

Seriously?

You’ve been running from your grief for 4 years instead of dealing with it. You didn’t need a new car or a trailer; you only bought them so that you could drive around the country and get noticed.  The inside of your trailer is filled with pictures of you and Chuck (this was written in an accusatory tone, for some reason).  I know things about Chuck and indiscretions with women but I don’t want to speak ill of the dead so I won’t say anything and you wouldn’t believe me anyways.

Wow. Where sick people will go, right?

Follow me to the blackboard and let’s diagram her comments, shall we?  I have a pointer to help us out.

Yes, indeed, I did paint my car/rig pink in order to draw people to me on the road.  As my mom would say that’s the pernt!  Jeez, I thought it was a pretty good plan, considering my brain was mush and my world was annihilated, but don’t go by me.  All it’s done is connect me with hundreds and hundreds of, you know, people, who give me hugs and I kind of like that, thank you very much.  And it has kept me from isolating myself in my grief.  Points for me on that!  And, hey, who doesn’t like pink?

And yes, the inside of my trailer is indeed filled with pictures of me and Chuck. Slap! Slap! Slap! to the side of the head here, as I try to figure out why that’s a problem for her, for anyone.  Bueller? Bueller?

Oh, yes.  And she was very upset that, when she visited me a month after Chuck died, I’d had a meltdown you know, because I felt safe to do that with my closest friend and my daughter one month after my husband died and shaved my head.  Please refer to various world customs where such expressions of grief are common.  It was very upsetting to her, you see.  And I didn’t talk to her much at the time, apparently now, now, no excuses about grief/shock/devastation/etc.

I’m a bad friend, aren’t I?

Honestly, I don’t care about the stupid shit stuff that was said.  It was what was said about Chuck, a man she purported to love in life, that sickened me.  That was tried on me years ago, right after Chuck died, by a very close family member.  Back then, because I was so fragile and shocked, it took me into a dark place.

Hah!

This woman here…me…I am much stronger now than I was after Chuck died. Words such as these, borne out of envy and jealousy, just strike my funny bone. 

And they took me full throttle into ending the friendship. Which, apparently, it really wasn’t anyways. But I’m slow to the obvious at times, so give me a pass, please.

The lives we have to live after our person dies are filled with change of every sort, most of them difficult ones.  People we thought we knew, people we thought knew us, end up, oftentimes, betraying us, if that isn’t too harsh a word to use here.  Betraying us by revealing shallow waters where, to us, they seemed deeper.  But our eyes open to realizations that have possibly floated around us for years, while we ignored them for one reason or another.

It saddens me for her, for others like her. In her case, she lost not only me, but Chuck too.  I hope it was worth it.

I had a love story for 24 years and that’s my story, and it cannot be taken from me.  Chuck had a love story too, with me, and that can’t be taken from me either.  It might be the only one I have in this life, but I had the joy of it, which is more than many can say. 

Life, right?

Insert sigh… 

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Showing 4 reactions

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  • commented 2016-08-18 08:11:55 -0700
    I can’t tell you how much you and your pink rig has inspired me! I quit my job a year and a half after my husband passed in order to travel. My plan was to take my dog and see all the places that my husband , who traveled a lot for work, had promised me “someday” we would see together. I was going to experience our someday alone in his memory! The first trip was difficult with my pooch, hotels even pet-friendly ones are not very pet friendly. A friend suggested an RV. I remember reading some of your blogs and seeing your rig. I told my friends and family I wanted to be like you! They thought I was crazy. My brother who works in the RV industry has discouraged me. I fully understand the ney saying friends and family. I still don’t have my own rig, but I still road trip. I hope someday I get to cross paths with you!
  • commented 2016-08-18 02:59:34 -0700
    Alison, where did all that come from? Why did she want to hurt you like that? I feel so badly for you to have to hear those words. She was no friend to you, and in fact, her words speak volumes of how jealous she is of you as a woman. She is aware of your strengths and for what ever reason felt the need to try and knock you down. You are living your life your own way and in your own time, and that’s all we widows can do. Let’s focus on building ourselves into the women we choose to be, and not worry about naysayers.

    I am sorry for you loss of someone you thought was a friend You are survived the worst loss that can happen, and you will survive this one too. The road is open to you, and along the way you will meet new people who will cheer you on this voyage – sometimes just riding along shotgun with you and sometimes holding you up when you need some help. We are many women strong, and we are here for you, as you are here for us.
  • commented 2016-08-17 20:18:39 -0700
    You are definitely stronger….this “friend” needed the boot…Good for you……You owe no explaining for it…yet so glad you shared since there are many of us who have done this too or need too…
    Thanks for sharing
  • commented 2016-08-17 12:56:17 -0700
    I so understand letting go of someone who brings you down and is truly not there for you as a friend. I had to do that too. Only it was 3 months after my husband died (Mar 2016). She wasn’t ever truly there for me at all…..it was all about her and the way she thought I should be handling my feelings.

    This is just one of the many examples of the things she would say to me.
    “I am still mourning the loss of old Arlene. She was bright, carefree and happy. Now you just don’t sound that way anymore!!! Know what I mean?”

    I don’t have to explain, that I had no idea what emotion I would be feeling from minute to minute let alone feeling happy to make her feel better. I couldn’t even fake smile!!! I just lost my husband of 38 years…..I was devastated and still am!

    Like you Alison, all I need are hugs and love from others and to be eventually able to give it back. I don’t need my feelings to be judged. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and tried a little more to keep the friendship, until I realized that she wasn’t going to change. She was trying to control me and my emotions. I have since blocked her from my life. I know it sounds harsh but she was toxic to me and my trying to recover. I don’t miss her at all. I actually haven’t even thought of her until I read your story.

    You definitely did make the right decision for you!!! Your love story is yours and no one can ever take that away from you or even try to change one beautiful memory you have locked away.

    Thank you for writing and sharing your story. It really helped me to know I did the right thing too!!!

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