I have recently made a new friend. This alone might seem a simple and common thing. I however have come to realize how very important and rare an occurrence this is.
I am the type of person whom has had very few, but very real friends in my life. Unfortunately, although at the time each was integral to my life; they are no longer with us or have moved on. I can count the number for my lifetime on one hand.
The first was a childhood friend whom remained a true friend until sometime in high school. We began to drift and ultimately, although she was in my wedding our friendship ended and was never revived. She would say it ended because we were different people than when we were children. I would agree; that is obvious. What was not obvious and sadly led to our demise was the change in life status. I married young and she did not approve, I understood. I also in high school, when we began to drift, did not approve of choices she was making and vice versa. Most would say we outgrew each other. But, I say although true, it was sad. Know one else would ever know, no matter how many stories you told, the history we shared; it was a monumental loss.
The replacement friend I made in high school also judged my early marriage and ultimately failed to feel safe enough to share her own demons. She drifted away and never revealed her true self. This was a huge loss for her, as I would have embraced her had she shared with me, and could have been lifelong allies. In the end I learned her secrets through others and I was sad she had not felt she could trust me with her choices. Again this was an epic loss for me.
The first adult friend I made was one of survival. We both shared our burdens; her more than I and ultimately it was our demise. My husband would always tell me, “misery loves company”. Once my problems were faced and overcome, the bases for the relationship disappeared. Although, I missed her, in the end I realized it was one of those one sided relationships. We have all had those.
The forth, also an adult friend, made a little later yet simultaneous to the above mentioned; was one forged in similar lives. We shared everything! Our eldest children were two weeks apart in age. We shared family get-togethers, birthdays, anniversaries, separations, addictions; you name it! She was one of the finest human beings I ever had the good fortune to know. My greatest regret is our inability to face our daemons at the same time and ultimately were not able to help each other at the most needed of times. She lost herself and I was not there to help her. She lost her life and I lost my dearest friend. She is sorely and always missed!
My longest held friend was made entirely of her kindness and generosity. I was new to our town, to my job, and to our way of life. My children were overwhelmed with the transition on lifestyle, from big city to small town life. We were all fish out of water and she could see it. She came to me and offered friendship, guidance and solace. She made overtures for my daughter, to help ingratiate herself to a rigid and unkind generational community of teenagers. She was a pillar of the community and through her grace and goodness; although never ingratiated into the community, we were tolerated rather than overly maligned. As the years progressed she came to know me well and was there for me in even my darkest hours. She was a pillar of support and love, never wavering, nor judging. We have both since seen our children leave home, left our jobs together, and moved into new lives. We still call and meet every once in a while. Our children stay in contact and even work together. Proximity and time have taken a toll and I miss her presence in a profound way. The sentiments are the same; the admiration and love will never change. Possibly with time we will make more time for each other as our lives allow. But I do miss her.
That brings me to my new friend. She works with me and does the same job with the same credentials. We speak the same work language. We have similar stories in many ways, and yet not, which keeps it interesting. We are close in age and have children of the same age. We both have successful children, which allow us both to brag yet not be envious. We share a common set of values that transcend conversation, we have come to each other’s aid in response to those values and they have built a bond. We are old enough and had our share of losses; enough to be cognizant of the fear of trust and betrayal. Deciding to dive into a friendship is a scary experience. It sometimes can be easier to stay superficial and not take the risk. I am happy to say we have both decided to dive in. I am ready for a new chapter of friendship.
Although each of my past friendships has had some form of heartbreak, I would not trade a single one of them. As I often tell my daughter, lessons, experiences, people, they all serve a purpose. Finding the positive purpose is the key. I am excited at the prospect of cultivating a new friendship whose purpose; I hope will be to carry us both into our golden years!
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC