To The Friends Who Leave

lydia harper

We made so many memories together. We met right at the start of our formative years— I had just turned eighteen and you on your way to seventeen. We were at pretty different points in our lives, and yet we somehow found our footing through those differences. We promised we’d tackle the coming years ahead, together. We were both vulnerable. We were both strong women who had misplaced their strength somewhere along the line. I think you were always closer to rediscovering it than I was though. You had a brave face, and an even braver mind. You knew how to take care of yourself, and that was something I always admired in you. I, on the other hand, was nowhere near that misplaced strength. I knew that I needed you, and I didn’t pretend not to. I didn’t have to with you. We were there for each other, no matter what.

Over the years, you took steps toward your strength. Every step you took made me infinitely prouder of you. You learned how to get rid of the toxic people in your life. You left home at eighteen and supported yourself in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was that age. You were independent. You took your life into your own hands and you made it belong to you again. And if you still felt weak, the world couldn’t tell. You were the strongest person I knew.

Sometimes, your strength scared people away. I watched as you learned how to navigate difficult relationships, I watched as you struggled to fill the void left by your high school friends, and I watched as those holes in your heart slowly reformed themselves. I didn’t always agree with the choices you made, but I supported you anyway. There were even a few instances where I sacrificed my own relationships with people in order to stand by you, but that never bothered me. You were worth it. You were my ride or die, and I’m pretty sure I was yours. To me, my friendship with you was in a different realm from my other friendships. Sure, I had other “best friends,” but none of them had the impact on me that you did. I don’t believe in soulmates, but we called each other soulmates, and I truly believed it every time I said it. I truly believed that we were meant to meet, that we were meant to be in each other’s lives forever.

But I guess nothing lasts forever, not even soulmates. Here’s my theory: You got stronger, and I got weaker. You kept getting stronger, and I kept getting weaker. We knew how to navigate this for a while, but things started changing. We didn’t know how to be friends with these new versions of ourselves. You couldn’t help me in the ways that I needed, and I couldn’t be there for you in the ways that you needed. We didn’t know each other anymore. Your newfound strength was remarkable, but it created a new life that didn’t necessarily have room for my weakness anymore. I became consumed with my demons, unable to be the best friend that I once was to you. We lost each other. I wasn’t aware it was happening at the time, maybe because I didn’t want to believe anything could ever tear us apart. I guess you knew for a while though. How else could it have been so easy for you to walk away?

I’m so happy that you’re happy. I’m so happy you have found this life that suits you so well. It kills me that I ever contributed to your unhappiness. I know it doesn’t mean much, but I’m sorry for the ways that I’ve hurt you. I’m sorry that I made you feel like I didn’t love you. Because, friend, I love you so much. I love you in this way that’s unlike any other love in my life. It’s as if there’s this forcefield around the part of my heart that holds you, and I can’t get through it. Every time I try to make my heart say goodbye to you, I hit this wall and something just won’t let me. It seems to hurt more each time I try. Can you imagine what it feels like when the one person who you were convinced would never leave you, leaves you?

I wish I wasn’t sad. Believe me, more than anything, I wish I had a strong heart and a healthy brain. I wish I could be that happy person for you, because that’s the type of best friend you deserve. That’s the type of best friend you’ve found in others. And I get it— Why deal with the depressed friend who may or may not get out of bed to text you back that day when you have people who are always ready for adventures? Why bring darkness into a life filled with so much light? I get it. I do. I know I can be a hard friend to hold on to.

So, best friend, sister, soulmate, I’m not going to end this with a goodbye because I can’t get myself to type out the words. Maybe I thought by the time I got to the end of this letter, I’d be able to make those words appear on the page, but I’m still not there yet. I’m still hurt that you found our friendship so easy to walk away from. I’m still angry that you left, without even giving me a chance to talk it through with you. I thought that our friendship deserved more than that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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