When friendship dies

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened
— Dr. Seuss

As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed a few days ago, one particular post made me stop in my tracks. It was a yoga picture like most of the others - handstand, sunshine, motivating caption. Except this wasn’t some random person in a random place. My heart hurt as I saw the profile name. And for the rest of the morning, a cloud hung over my head along with regrets, anger and sadness. It’s been three years since our friendship broke.

We all have those friends who we bond with on such a level that it seems impossible, inconceivable, blasphemous and downright idiotic to think it might ever end. How could it? You have an endless WhatsApp chat stream, daily phone calls, nights out where you cast mischief all over the city and laugh until you snort rum and coke through your nose. You share secrets that you’d never tell anyone else, ever, the kind that come from a deep, dark place. You share fears and tears. You watch each other emigrate and grow. You encourage, you share, you love. She was that friend for me. It was worse than seeing a photo of the ex who cheated, or the one who simply disappeared.

Three years. It feels like three days and three decades, all at the same time. Three years since I went to visit. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and I’d changed. She’d changed. We fought and I didn’t have a verbal filter. Having just started to get to know myself and what I wanted, I was honest and said things that I wish I could take back and say in a different way. A few days later, as my visit came to an end, we hugged goodbye as we separated and wished each other well. And I knew it would be for the very last time. Since then, I’ve seen what she’s up to on social media but as the algorithms change and we have no contact, she’s been dropping out of my feed. But not my mind.

So many new and exciting things have happened since, and she would have been the first one I’d want to tell. Especially because her influence was a huge catalyst for starting this journey in the first place. From being in awe of her homeopathic knowledge and love for all-things-natural, to the literal kick up the bum to make a move on the guy who would lead me to France and a chance encounter that would take me all the way to India. When I saw that yoga post on Instagram, it made me sad to think that it could have been me taking that photo for her. Of course I trawled through her feed then, feeling even more sad, because we would most-likely have been Instagram husbands. And then I unfollowed her account.

I was a bit hesitant in writing this blog post. It’s a very personal one. But in the last couple of days, I’ve had conversations about friendship dynamics. I’ve also dreamt about it. About her. Friendships change and evolve. They are, after all, relationships. You either grow together or you grow apart and the effort has to be there to make it work. As we get older, good friends are hard to come by. Which is why, when they end, it’s a real loss. The hole left behind by somebody who was so entrenched in your life one day and then is gone the next, is a big one. It’s like a death. We need time to recover and in the end, it doesn’t matter who’s fault it was. Who said what, who did what. Of course there are things I wish I could take back, but life moves on. Trawling through the feed of an ex partner or friend very rarely leaves us feeling good. It didn’t make me feel good. It made me suffer because I started to yearn for what was gone. But the more Iearn, the more I come to realise that’s just the way life goes.

Nothing is permanent, not relationships, not friendships, not jobs - nothing. I don’t like it, probably nobody does, but that’s how it is. When I think back to that hug goodbye it still brings a lump to my throat. I miss her, every day. I am so grateful for the friendship we had, for the things she brought out of me, for her encouragement, her love, her laughter and the lessons she taught me about myself and life in general. Like the lesson that the people we meet aren’t always meant to stay in our lives until the end, even the ones who feel like a soul you knew before this life. Or the lesson to take a breath, think about what I want to say and why, and then decide if it needs to be said in that moment, or the lesson to put even more of myself into my friendships with full appreciation. I thought about her and then offered my gratitude with the knowledge that my door is always open.

Friends, family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives. It hurts when they go. And it hurts even more when we had a part to play in that loss. Think about them. Offer gratitude. Send them love, and let them go.