The Death of a Friendship

Friendships can die in many ways through the passage of time, distance, neglect, as well as growing apart due to life circumstances or a shift in core beliefs, or through a sudden event.

I think it’s almost easier to accept the death of a friendship over time as a natural succession of life as events come together to cause less and less planned or even accidental interactions. I think in these situations, these friendships can be reignited if both parties can find time or have the desire to reconnect with the lost friend. I’ve been very very blessed to reconnect with one of my best friends from years ago, and it’s been one of the biggest blessings in my life during the past few years. I don’t know what I’d do without her! 

However, I believe the death of a friendship as an intentional or sudden event is much harder. In my experience, something unexpected has happened and severed the relationship; more often than not feelings are hurt, both parties feel betrayed or wronged, and trust is gone. The friendship has died. 

In 2009 I experienced the death of a very close, 20+ year long friendship with someone I loved and shared many important moments during both of our lives. It was devastating and I have grieved the loss for 8 years. I have completely taken my share of the blame for the events that led up to the break and I sincerely apologized for my part in the events leading up to losing this important friend. I really wanted to try and repair the friendship and move forward in forgiveness and love. After several failed attempts, I finally accepted that things were never going to be the same and moved on. It was difficult because in losing that one dear friend, I lost my close friendship with her husband and, most importantly, with her children who I had adored since they were born. I also lost another very important family of friends that were my rock as I dealt with the shock and betrayal of my first divorce. It was heart breaking and a time of great self-reflection and learning. I realized just how important certain friendships are – these people were my family during hard times. Ironically I was grieving the unexpected deaths of both my parents when this friendship shattered. It was almost to much to process at once, but you do what you have to do to heal and move on. 

I accidentally ran into this old friend for the first time in years this past Saturday. My first reaction was joy just to see her, and I couldn’t help but smile and be cautiously excited. I’m the kind of person not to hide in uncomfortable situations, which is no surprise if you know me well! I approached her and said hi and gave her a huge hug. I know it must have startled her and made her a little uncomfortable, but that hug and fleeting smile from her was so good. It felt so good to hug her and smile at her. I left her alone and went about my business, not wanting to intrude any further. Later I glanced up as she was leaving, and I admit I was a little sad. Imagine my surprise when a second later she stopped by where I was to chat for a minute. It felt incredible to talk about the normal things we used to chat about all the time. I was so happy to hear how the kids (yes adults now) were doing and that she was happy at work doing something she’s perfectly suited to do. She left and my heart was healed. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever see or talk to her again, but that chance encounter was wonderful. I’ll cherish it, but I’ll also pray that the door that’s been locked shut for 8 years has now been opened a crack. Maybe, just maybe sunlight will come through that crack followed by another chance encounter with my old friend. Nothing could make me happier. 

Friendships are important. That’s why when a friendship dies a sudden traumatic death it hurts so badly. Grieve it, try to repair it if you choose to and you can, learn from it, and cherish those memories if the friendship is truly over. 

Have you ever had a very close friendship die a tragic death? Were you able to repair it or did you grieve your loss, learn from your mistakes and carry-on? I’d love to know! 

Have a good week-