"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Outgrowing Friends

>> Thursday, July 21, 2005

I saw a comment that Mama Duck left on another blog about outgrowing friends and losing touch. That made me think about the friends I left behind in Minneapolis when I moved to Iowa. And it made me very sad.

I had 6 very good friends; the kind of friends you usually make in high school; the kind of friends you think will be there forever. I have found that 400 miles is too far for some friendships to survive.

Now, only half of those friends have disappeared. We'll call them K, J & S.

K was an alcholic when I met her. A black-out drunk. But she was so kind that you just couldn't help but love her. And with a lot of help and a lot of determination she got sober. And remained that way for 7 years. I really looked up to her and respected her for that. Until she met Ali. He was Iraqi and abusive. He also drank & used drugs. A really good Muslim, huh? Anyway, he didn't approve of her friends and isolated her. She began drinking & using drugs with him. And then she became pregnant. I'm sure you all know where this leads. She knew I didn't like Ali, that I saw him for what he was and we drifted apart. I used to call her, just to check in. Once in a while she would return my calls. But I haven't heard from her since March.

J was one of those people that everyone wanted to be near. She always made you feel so good about yourself. She was so intelligent; put herself through law school and volunteered as legal counsel for charities. She, too, had gone through treatment programs and had been sober for quite a while. The last time I saw her was right before I had Brenna. Then she just disappeared. Her phones were disconnected; letters were returned unopened. I heard that she lost custody of her daughter and was in a treatment program for drugs, crack to be precise.

S was probably my best friend. I was with her while she was in labor with her daughter. I stood up with her at her wedding. I supported her during her divorce. We kept in touch until pretty recently. But she met a guy, moved in with him and her phone has been disconnected. It makes me wonder what is going on there; I don't have a good feeling about it.

The remaining 3 friends: B, G & E.

B is a friend I will probably have forever. We aren't as close as we once were and we see many things differently. She has very strong opinions that I don't always agree with but I also know that she will come if I really need her. She's a rock.

G. What can I say about her? She is someone that everyone calls their best friend. She is kind, generous to a fault and so damn beautiful both inside and out. She's also an artist & flakey beyond belief- which only makes her more wonderful. Think Phoebe from Friends. There are times I won't hear from her for months but when I do see her it's like no time has passed.

And E. E is like the screwed up little sister I never had. When I met her she was 19, I was 31. We are incredibly alike yet so very different. She is sharp as a tack and has amazing artistic talents. She also has low, low, low self esteem and, I think, issues with depression. And right now she is breaking my heart. I hadn't heard from her in quite a while, which worried me. She was the one who kept in touch with me the best of everyone. She drove down to see me the day after I had Brenna. And that day I knew something wasn't quite right but I was so tired and elated that I didn't pay any attention to the sirens I could hear going off in my head. And now, after much prodding on my part, I have heard from her and she is in deep, deep trouble. The kind of trouble that you don't get in to yourself and you don't get out of without lots of help. And she has asked for my help. And, although I desperately want to help her, I know that I am in NO WAY qualified to do so. I am afraid that if I don't help her she will be lost to me, and everyone else who loves her, very soon. And I don't mean that in a literal way but in a physical one. I'll follow up soon with a more informative post.

Which brings me back round to the point- outgrowing friends. I don't know if I so much outgrew my friends or if the path I chose was just so far from theirs. Sometimes I feel like I held our little group together- actually I know I did- and when I left everyone just drifted apart and became lost.

I suppose I am saddest about this because I have never made girl-friends easily. They were my family when I was far away from my own. Quite often I wonder what would have happened if Doug had come to Minnesota instead of me moving to Iowa. But I know... we wouldn't have survived the drama that we would have been dragged in to. And I wouldn't have the wonderful life, husband & daughter that I do. Change is necessary. And, for me, it has been very good. I just wish I could say the same for all of my friends.

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