As most of y’all know, my grandfather died in late January (we were very close). Two and a half weeks later, my longtime closest friend abruptly terminated our friendship and all contact (it wasn’t as sudden for them as it felt to me, but that’s not my story to tell and, frankly, I don’t fully understand it myself).
Losing that friendship cut deeper and has left a much nastier scar than losing my granddad — and I think in part it’s because I always knew that someday Granddaddy would have to go; it’s the natural order of things. But to be dropped, in the midst of my howling grief, by one of the only people who knows me well enough to be a comfort, who could possibly help shoulder that sorrow…that felt cruel. And cruelty from that source was utterly unfathomable to me. I don’t trust easily, but they’d earned it many times over. They were a sanctuary kind of person and I loved them for it. (I have cursed myself for that many times over the past few months.)
Ours was one of those rarest of friendships where you could say anything and know you’d be supported or gently thwapped out of your navel-gazing if need be…whatever you needed, you knew this person would be there for you. That’s who I hope I was for them, and who they were to me.
Until they weren’t.
I went through some very dark and ugly days just after that happened. I’m not proud of some of the ways I tried to cope with the severity of this shocking second loss. I made some mistakes; I reeled and stumbled and maybe I could’ve done better…but I’m human. Surprisingly, though, I’m ok. We’re all phoenixes, as you know, and our resilience is all the more beautiful for the times we have been burned to ashes.
I still have moments when I read — or see or hear or do — something and think, “They’d love this!” and have that mental grin for about half a second before reality intrudes, that they opted out of my life. (That happened yesterday, hence this ramble today…that twisting flash of pain is something that I would have gone to them with and they would have somehow found a way to help.)
There are questions I have that will never be answered. At first, they plagued me relentlessly; my mind tortured itself trying to fill in the blanks that aren’t mine to fill…but time marches on. I’ve been binge-rewatching “Private Practice” lately, and something a minor character said rings true here:
“After a while, you stop asking yourself why because there is no answer that makes sense. It’s just…it IS. It’s just the life you have.”
I love my life. But damn, I miss that person — maybe not even them, but that closeness, that friendship that transcended time and distance and everything else to lift my spirit (theirs too, I hope!) and to remind me that I have wings. I miss the easy laughter, the limitless refuge, the unconditional welcome. I am profoundly grateful to have had that level of naked-soul friendship in this lifetime, and am not so greedy as to expect to ever have it again. The silence is hard…but I’m learning, just as I’ve figured out how to hold on to my smile when I remember Granddaddy.
Some things just…are. Right or wrong (and who’s to say?), logical or bewildering, pleasant or painful.
It’s just the life you have.