Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friend Abyss

How many friends do you have?
I have a lot of friends. Friends I run with, friends who read my blog and whose blogs I read, friends who I sit with at basketball games and friends who meet me at swim meets. I have homeschooling friends and Michigan friends and Tribune friends. I even have long-lost college friends and grad school friends.
But I only have one friend who I can call at anytime to talk to about any topic. I call her when I hear something funny on NPR or when I hear something unbelievable. I call her when I'm frustrated with my husband or my children. I call her when I feel like I want to scratch my eyes out rather than read another English comp essay.
For years, nearly 16 years, she has been my best friend.
We met at a LaLeche League meeting. She had a one-year-old, I had a baby and a two year old. On our first play date, which was more for us than the children, she told me she was pregnant with her second baby.
When I look through pictures at baptisms and birthday parties, she and her kids are there.

When we moved away from Michigan twelve years ago, I bought a telephone plan that allowed me to talk to her everyday.
I strained to hear her as she waded through her divorce. I drove to Michigan and sat in the courtroom, supporting her fight to keep her children full time. Then, later that same year, I drove to Michigan to attend her wedding to a new man.
I suggested that she wait. "If he's a nice guy now, he'll be a nice guy next year..." but she was turning 40 and he wanted children so she married him.
We visited a few times as a family. We continued to talk most days.
Troubles began.
Maybe my job as a friend is to listen to her problems and only give her what she needs. Maybe these past few years I've been pushing too hard to get her to end her marriage to the man who spends her money, yells at her children, and never gets enough of her time or attention.
I know I have output control. Sometimes, I just need to make myself say nothing. But not with my friend. I didn't stop myself.
And that's why this week, my phone has not rung. When I needed to talk, I picked up the phone and stared at it for a few minutes before setting it down. I had no one to call.
Because, although I've been urging her to end this unhealthy relationship, this unhealthy marriage, instead, she ended the friendship with me.
We didn't have a break up call.
We just had silence.


Sheila said...

I'm so sorry, you can always call me. I know I'm not a Ruth replacement but I can be a fill in until things blow over.

Michelle said...

I'm sorry for the silence. I hope it is just a pause, while your friendship takes a breath.
I believe we honor our friendships when we speak our truth and listen with an open mind and heart. I have experienced that with you.
I hope that you and Ruth are able to connect somehow and find your way through the silence back to each other. I have always admired the friendship the two of you share and the support and comfort I have seen you share.
Love to you.

Stephanie said...

Oh no!

My heart breaks for you.

I hope it is just a "pause" as Michelle says. As a matter of fact, ditto the rest of what Michelle says. I couldn't have said it better.

Hang in there.

Linda said...

I guess she just doesn't want to hear the truth and it's easier not to talk to you. My own sister hasn't spoken to me in almost 3 years now mostly because I don't back her on some of her beliefs. Unlike you though, I don't miss our calls mostly because she is a drama queen. Hopefully one day it will get worked out.

Delana said...

The sad thing about forever friendships is sometimes they aren't. They run their course. And we mourn. The wonderful thing about them, is often...they return full force when we least expect it. Either way, we're lucky for the time we had. I'm sorry Paulita. I know exactly how you feel.

Paulita said...

Thanks everyone for your comforting words. I haven't given up.

Lucia said...

I'm sorry to hear this but I completely understand you had to say something and you thought that your friendship was strong enough for her to hear what you had to say.
maybe she is embarassed or ashamed, maybe she needs time to sort out thoughts on her own without outside input and when she has figured it out, she will call you again. I hope so.

Terrible Timing said...

In order for Ruth to be in the relationship, she has to be able to share what is going on in her life without reservation; of course she already knows how you feel or are going to feel; tough situation. My heart goes out to you both.

Relationships are messy, someone once told me and I've found that to be nothing but the true, especially those that are closest or most valuable.

I stink at it. I'm currently in year 2 of a 3 probably 5 year resolution to be a better listener. The only thing I learned in year one, was what not to do. uggh !

Granted as a new beginner, I seem to be able to listen (at first), comment or not (trying not to give advice) and then for some reason I relate it to something that's going on with me .... and I proceed to express that.

Unfortunately, this is not working out as planned. It offends the other person by either coming across as "me saying its same thing" (I'm not btw) or worse "I'm constantly bringing the conversation back to me" ( yikes, I thought conversations were suppose to be two way). Ugggh.

Just as I am doing right now. Lets say I did it on purpose this time as an example.... smile.

When I can channel you, I do much better !

BFF said...

Here's the ting - you can always call me too. Our friendship will NEVER end. Sometimes I am in too much misery to talk, whether it is my marriage or my kids, sometimes I just need me. But the phone lines run both ways. I thought one of the great things about our friendship was that you knew that and would call me when you needed me. I don't have ESPn after all.
As for wanting to hear the truth - ladies I live it. Ending a marriage is not easy and not black and white, believe me I have done it and when your 6 year old lays in bed with you and your potentially estranged husband and makes you hold hands more than your happiness is at stake and if I took THAT lightly I would not be the friend you thought you had.
Love and support run both ways. Sometimes I need it to run this way

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