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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Moving On

Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can't prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you're presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. - Blaine Lee

Friendships shouldn't be difficult, but sometimes they can be a downright messy and very complicated endeavor.

Some friendships die a natural death: people move, change jobs, start a family, or embark on a completely different stage of life. Other friendships, however, end prematurely and abruptly. When a friendship is over and you don't always understand why and it can be painful and puzzling. Sometimes a friend ends your relationship without even telling you and sometimes they are able to muster up enough courage to FINALLY say all the things they have wanted to say for a very, very long time.

I spent a good part of last week stewing over a friendship I have had for 20 years. We exchanged scathing e-mails and I ended up sharing some things that were WAY overdue. Should one of us have picked up the phone to discuss our issues? Absolutely, but e-mail has always sort of been "our thing" due to our geographic challenges.

It would take an entire blog to describe all the ups and downs and twists and turns I have had with this person over the years, so I'll spare you the torrid details and just say that like in any relationship, there were good times and some nice memories that I will always cherish, but ultimately, pride, ego and an unwillingness or inability to "show up" played a huge role in the end of our friendship.

I am certainly not perfect and there are two sides to every story, but this is my blog, so you can figure out which one of us I think was the selfish one.

I have experienced monumental changes during the last three years (I got re-married, lost both of my parents at the same time, left a 10+ year career in marketing to deal with the fall out and became a mother) and my friend wasn't much of a friend to me during any of these life altering moments and instead of saying anything to her, I pretended that everything was okay.

It wasn't.

To be fair, she had fallen on tough times too and has spent the last three years trying to find steady work, all the while nursing a back injury sustained from an auto accident and in my opinion popping too many pills and letting herself spiral out of control. Every e-mail I received was worse than the last, a virtual "woe is me" tale of sending out resumes, worry over paying medical bills, asking for money, a repossessed car, and "boy toys".

Ah, can you say different phases of life?

I am not saying that what was going on her life was was any less important than what was going on in mine, but there was so little acknowledgement of my burdens that it bruised my heart.

How does this relate to Lucas and/or motherhood?

I believe when you become a parent, you gain a much clearer view of the world around you, the relationships you have and what your priorities are. I literally don't have the time to build egos or coddle anyone but my son (and occasionally my husband) anymore!

Friendship plays a key role in shaping an individual and in making the person he or she turns out to be. I have always thought of myself as a good friend. Thoughtful, loyal, fun to be with and above all engaged. I get caught up in the details sometimes and admit to having high expectations, but over the years, I have realized that that is okay. Why shouldn't I expect the very same that I give in return?
I want nothing less for my son and the friendships he cultivates someday.

There is a lesson in this loss for me... hopefully, I'm little wiser and will be a lot more open in future. Life is too short.

Today, I feel lighter and a tiny bit sad. I am proud of myself for finally speaking my mind and letting her know how I feel about her absence over the years, but I will miss her and moving on, will think of her only with fondness.

The best is yet to be.

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Blogger Natalie said...

Tonya, I know how you feel and what you mean. It is so hard to let go of a friend that you've had for so long, but sometimes for the sake of your well-being, you have to do it.

I had a similar situation, and I still miss my friend a lot. But it will never be the friendship it was and I will never be able to have her play a big role in my "new" life.

Hugs to you...and I'm so glad that our relationship has actually gotten deeper and stronger these past few months!

June 15, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I am sorry that this happened. 20 years is a long time to be friends with someone and I am sure that is certainly on your mind. I hope you feel relieved mostly though that you finally told her how you felt.
I have always admired your ability to know who is worth your friendship and who is not. I'm not as strong as you and I would admit that I've let a few 'friends' do things to me and have let them get away with it. But I guess I feel that life is too short and why spend time dealing with those things when there are other bigger issues going on on life.

After mom and dad died, I think I was really able to tell who my true friends are and who seriously cared about me. Sad that it took something so horrific to learn the truth.

I have no doubt that Lucas will have amazing friends but we have some incredible people in our lives and he will see that. : )

June 15, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Ms. Understood said...

I completely understand. My best friend and I have been friends for 25 years, since we were 5 years old. I've been watching our lives go in different directions for a while. It smacked me in the face yesterday. She was telling me about her weekend and all the concerts and dinner parties, etc. that she did. She asked me what I did and I told that I my husband and I lazed around the house. Then Monday, I stayed home for work and cleaned because I it's hard for me to clean when he's home (and sitting there watching tv, makes me want to watch tv too). She was silent on the phone and then started talking about something else. I could tell she was thinking, "Dag, your life is boring." We're just in different places. Sorry that you had to move on from your friendship.

June 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger alicia said...

Sorry to hear about this loss in your life. But sometimes for the sake of self preservation and sanity it is the best option. I think you were pretty fair in your analysis of the situation and I wish you all the best.

June 15, 2010 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger KLZ said...

I've been through this and it's so hard. I'm sorry you've lost this but glad that your life is a little lighter for it.

June 15, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Sophie Eschenlohr said...

I'm sorry you had to go through all this. I've had to do it ad I know it's not easy. Thinking of you xoxo

June 15, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I agree completly, once you have kids things change for some reason and what you used to put up with some how flies out the window...perhaps we grow up and apart and sometimes friendships must come to and end especially if you find yourself being influenced a certain is sad, but then again life is never easy...

June 16, 2010 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

The longer the relationship has been around, the harder things like that are. And as crazy as it seems, sometimes even after all the time and all those memories, things change in a way and to a point that they become irreparably damaged. It sounds like parting ways is a more positive, healthy change for you.

June 16, 2010 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Tonya said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the support! I love my blog world friends and appreciate all of my readers.

I was a little apprehensive about about pouring my heart out here about this, but I am glad I did and happy to know that I'm not the only one that has had to say goodbye to a good friend. I'm still 100% confident with my decision.


June 16, 2010 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger gingerbreadmama said...

oooo - looks like we have something to talk about on Friday that is not kid or poop related! :) P.S., I invited Tara so you could meet her but she has to work. Hopefully another time!

June 16, 2010 at 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Morgan B. said...

Thanks so much for sending this to me. I really needed it! I feel so liberated by my decision to let a friendship go. xo

November 17, 2010 at 9:13 PM  

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