Posted by: jude49 | September 3, 2012

Dealing With Losses Other Than Death

Hello All,

In my life, I have been fortunate to have good, solid and loving friendships.  Recently, though, I have had some surprises with a few friendships that I thought would last forever.

For most of my life, I lived in one place.  And then I left.  While I was many miles away in a different province, the friendships continued.  Even though we didn’t see each other often, there was still a connection.  About seven years ago, I returned “home” to the West Coast under less than ideal circumstances.  My parents were declining quickly; my sister was trying to handle a full-time nursing job and care-giving and…well, things were messy.

During the time I took care of my parents, I expected emotional support from my friends.  I found it in short supply. I was frustrated and angry.  After all, I had been an emotional support to them during their times of need.

Here’s what I learned, and I hope it may be of some value to you.

1.  Seeing my parents suffer and die changed me.  It was an emotionally-charged time, and many past issues that had remained unaddressed surfaced.  As I addressed them, there were shifts in my feelings, expectations and beliefs.  I now realize that some of my friends wanted the “old” Judith back.

2.  It took me awhile to realize that I had made significant changes.  It took a therapist friend who knew the “before and after Judith” to point out the changes I had made.

3.  I recognized some unhealthy patterns in myself that I didn’t want to keep any more.  Ridding myself of them had a negative impact on the relationships with some of my friends.

4. I had made positive growth, and I thought that positive growth for me would translate into my friendships becoming better and closer.  With some of my friendships, it didn’t work out that way.

5.  Personal change is not always welcomed or appreciated by others.

6.  Trying to reconnect with some of my friends resulted in my jumping back to old patterns and traits.  The old saying, “You can’t go back home again” is true for me.

So, what is the meaning I take from all of this?  It means that I’ll be sad for awhile.  Although none of my friends dislike me, and I certainly don’t dislike them, we just don’t connect as well as we used to.  I need to accept that things are different, and that difference can be uncomfortable and uneasy.  I don’t find ambiguity all that comfortable.   I need to accept what is and not hanker for what should be.  It is what it is.

So what’s my plan.  First, to stop wishing for what was and to deal with what is.  To keep hope and know that when one door closes, another opens.  The door may well be WIDE open, and I just can’t see it.  I realize I need to be more attuned to the present moment.  Most of all, I need to value who I am now and to keep walking forward.

Blessings,

Judith

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Responses

  1. Judith, your post absolutely resonated with me once again.

    I, too, have been irrevocably changed by having had to experience the illnesses and deaths of loved ones. I, too, have learned a huge amount about myself and others through these experiences.

    Though I have been blessed with some friendships that have endured for many decades, there are some people who have moved in and out of my life and this wasn’t always mutual. It usually had to do with changes each of us was going through. I learned, painfully, that we don’t all handle difficulties in the same manner, and felt resentful at times, that friends weren’t there for me as I was for them. When such a separation or even a drifting apart occurred, it always reactivated my personal loss issues and taught me a lot.

    I do believe that people are put in our lives at certain times due to choices we make consciously, but sometimes there are more mysterious reasons. Therefore, I believe there are equally valid reasons when things shift and we or others choose to move on.

    Life is an amazing adventure. Sometimes it is also scary and overwhelming but it goes on, whether we fully participate or not. I think, as you also point out, that we can’t always immediately see the positives or opportunties before us, or the door that is opening. Still, we need to at least decide to make an appointment to make an appointment to find and open the door and let the fresh air, light and life in as soon as we can.

    I find much wisdom in your posts and love the refreshing vulnerability. You will find your way through this and emerge better and stronger, I know. In the meantime you have much to teach your readers.

    • Thank you, Iris, for your wise and compassionate comments. They are much appreciated!


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