Nobody ever plans on losing a friend. It just sort of happens, and oftentimes it happens slowly. You stop calling. They stop calling. There is an argument, or disagreement, or an uncomfortable silence between the two of you; it never gets resolved. And every time you see each other, the distance between you gets wider. You stop caring. They stop caring. Before you know it, days, weeks, months go by, and the space between you grows. And so does the silence.
Living in a throw-away culture, there is a pain of losing a friend that everyone likes to ignore. We tell ourselves that “we must leave people behind” and indeed we must, but when did it seemingly become so easy to walk away? The love of a friend, a true friend, shouldn’t just be something we wrap and toss away in the garbage when we feel it has come to an end. It should hurt, you should hurt, and the pain should last much longer than even we thought it would.
It’s especially difficult to lose friends in an age of communication where our memories are often nothing more than a click away. The bitter taste of nostalgia in a trip of memory lane as you sift through old pictures; old messages there to remind you of secrets, and secret jokes you both once shared. And if your friend still exists in your digital world, you can watch each other move on, without each other. It’s a certain kind of torture, isn’t it?
And somewhere deep in your heart there’s a part of you that wants to reach out to them – to ask them how they’re doing, to ask them if you could just go back to the way things were. But there’s something stopping you. And although at first it seemed like pride, perhaps it is another voice – the gut-wrenching voice that is often right – telling you that what you have is over, that it’s time to move on. You hope and pray and wish this voice is wrong, you tell yourself that time will tell; and indeed time always does.
Nobody ever gets good at losing friends – at least nobody who truly values theirs. For most people, it’s a growing pain to walk away from somebody you love or let somebody you love walk away. There is no remedy for it; you just learn to live with it. People are not replaceable, and closure doesn’t always exist. But losing a friend doesn’t always mean gaining an enemy, a difference that most confuse. Sometimes all that’s left to do is thank the person if only internally for being your friend for as long as they were. Because the only thing worse than losing a friend is holding onto someone that just doesn’t want to be held any more.