In the past eleven months, two of my closest friendships have come to an end – separately, seemingly suddenly, seemingly unfairly. This has involved considerable pain, has left a significant void and been greatly compounded by the pandemic.
No matter how full of laughter and idiocy they may be, when it comes to close relationships – platonic or sexual – I have always been intensely serious and unwavering in my commitment to nourishing and sustaining them. Nothing is taken for granted; people are too precious, as far as I’m concerned. But time has taught me that, no matter hard one might try, sometimes the most life-affirming of bonds can run their course. I have also learnt that endings are just as important as beginnings and middles… The cycle of Life (and Love) dictates that what is not tended to in the past will always be carried forward to the future. Whilst acceptance of these separations came relatively quickly, I have spent a great deal of time this year reflecting on their deeper meanings, realising how they relate to differing values and approaches to the interpersonal and social sphere. Perhaps it simply is a case of external changes having arisen out of internal changes within myself.
However, this does not detract in any way from the many gifts conferred by these relationships. Each friend entered my life as a bright light, with their own exquisite inner beauty and a set of lessons to impart. They showed me new ways of being, as an individual and in relation to others. Through their particular means, they taught me how to love. I am wiser, stronger and happier as a result of knowing them.
Now, Life is bringing new folk into my world – some potentially more reflective of where I am and who I want to be. There are those who may be visiting for just a short while, others for a little longer. And then there will be those few who arrive to share a path that spans whole territories of time. During this process, I’m conscious that each of us carries within a shipping container’s worth of ‘madness’ – unhealthy, sometimes destructive, qualities and behavioural tendencies, born of fear and inevitable wounds arising from embodied living. It is rare that I am unable to spot what is also funny, inspiring or touching about a ‘flawed’ person, ever mindful of being one myself. However, I have learnt the crucial importance of mixing discernment into my tolerance, so as to acknowledge and protect my self-worth.
As for relationships now past, in my book, they are all worthy of being honoured through a process of mourning and voicing gratitude.
To these two friends who have recently left my life:
Thank you for all that you’ve given to me; I shall never deny or forget.