On Grieving A Relationship That Ended Because Life Happens

There are so many articles that have been written for people who are dealing with the loss of a friendship due to death or because the relationship was toxic. But, what about the rest of us? Where are our “12 Steps To Get Over A Friendship That You Didn’t Really Want To End Anyway Because It Was Great” articles?

This is not one of those articles. I have no goddamn idea how to get through this and get to a place where I don’t want to listen to Adele and Drake and cry into my organic lemon cookie ice cream. I know that I will get to a point where I can function as a “normal” member of society. Today is not that day. Today, I am grieving. And that’s okay. And here’s why…

One of my best people recently moved away. Circumstances being what they are, we mutually agreed to discontinue the friendship end communication aka “The Break-up”. Technically, the closing date will be in 6 months when I move to the other side of the country, but we’re starting the process now.

The plan: I will text them on their birthday, at the halfway point of our break-up process. At this point, we may exchange a quick update. We may reaffirm the decision to “break-up”. I will not expect a text on my birthday because remembering important dates/events is not their strong suit AND my birthday is too close to “communication termination day”. Between now and then, we may text a quick hello, or our code word that means “life is so busy and I’m thinking of you and I hope you’re well”, but probably not. After all, we’ve already said “good-bye”. Not “see you later”. No, a serious, emotional, “this is our last hug”, “I love you”, “I’ll miss you”, “moving will be so great for us” good-bye. Yeah… shit got real.

Today is Day 2* of the process. I’d love to say I’m doing well, but I’m a fucking mess. Not only am I preparing to move across the country, but I’m doing it without the support of my best person who I just finished supporting through a move. It sucks.

Yesterday aka Day 1, I sat crying the saddest, most pathetic silent crocodile tears you can imagine. It was awful. What’s worse, I couldn’t even call or text them to say, “Hey… I’m sad… Are you sad?… ‘Cause I’m sad…” I already knew the answer. That’s the power of connection. We both know when something is going on with the other person, and I can’t help thinking that part of my sadness, was also part of their sadness.

In perusing articles online about grieving a friend who has moved, something stuck out to me. To paraphrase:

“I know. It sucks. Just know, it sucks more for them. You have to say good-bye to them. They have to say good-bye to everyone.”

Oh. Kind of put things in perspective and helped me be supportive of their decision to move instead of falling on the ground 2 year-old tantrum style, screaming, “No! NO! Mine! MINE!”

And, like the good friend they are, when I told them I’d be moving, they were supportive of my decision. There was no judgment or guilt-tripping for either of us. Just a mutual understanding that things change and moving will give us both opportunities to create the lives we’ve talked about.

So, here I am. Writing this as a way to cope with the gnawing feeling of having one of my best people over 100 miles away, knowing very soon that will become a distance of almost 3,000 miles. And knowing that 3,000 miles means silence and letting go and moving on.

In the meantime, there are things that remind me of them. A candy bar that I would bring to them on the days when they were feeling down. A song that they said reminded them of me. A place that we hung out a few times. All of these things are part of our history. Some of them will remain. Some will be left behind when I move.

Like the spot where we once sat and talked. I visited it recently, and wasn’t at all surprised to see that it was under construction. Much like our friendship. Much like life in general.

Shit changes, and sometimes all we’re left with are memories. Times we spent together, little inside jokes, stupid things that still make me laugh. These are the things that I hold dear.

Don’t get me wrong, we did have some tough times, too. Like that time that we didn’t speak for a month. But, once we were back together, it was like nothing had ever happened. What’s funny is that during that time, other people noticed that we weren’t speaking and were supportive of us taking space–as long as we fixed it. Once we were good again, everything was good again. The power of friendship and positivity, I guess.

So, back to today. It’s tough. Every car with a similar shape and color is their car. Every text message might be from them. Every missed call might have been them. And it’s not like this is the first time. I’ve been through my share of ended relationships. Be it for good reasons or bad reasons. Be it the most amazing relationship or the most toxic. Things change, we move, and we move on. That’s life. We can’t just stay stagnant. We have to change and grow and sometimes that means growing apart.

And I’m sure I’ll see their favorite candy bar at the store, and I’ll come across orange calcite in a metaphysical shop, and I’ll hear Alessia Cara’s “Here”, and I’ll pout, and maybe even cry some. And I’ll smile. And I’ll think about one of the greatest things that ever happened to me: the loving and the leaving. And I’ll move on. Because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

| *not posted on Day 2 because feelings and editing and life and stuff…


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