Friends for a Season

Best Friends

My friend died suddenly. At one point, she was one of the three people who I believed would never NOT be one of my best friends no matter how many miles separated us. I was wrong. Because of the demanding circumstances of her life, the distance, our marriages, and whatever other excuse there is, our friendship became secondary. It hurts to say this, but it hurt even more as it was happening.

I have always needed good friends, and therefore, have always acted as a good friend to those who could accept me, blemished though I was/am. Those who did accept me, and were open, honest and sincere in their dealings with me, I loved. That’s why she was in my life; I loved her. Her death made me look at myself… again, with the magnifying glass of one who is asking what I could have done differently? The answer—probably nothing.

I don’t know what exactly caused her to close the door on our friendship, though she never did lock me completely out. I know when it began because her behavior sent me into an emotional tailspin. I cried about her not taking my calls and her making excuses to not let me visit. I talked about it to her but her response was not what I wanted to hear, and, as a method of self-protection, I backed away from that closing door. I started to call only a few times a year, and I never asked if I could visit. If I were going to be near her city, I would call to let her know, but she would always be planning something important, or going somewhere, so I started to expect those closed-door responses.

When we did manage to talk or see each other, we so enjoyed each other—just like old times. We’d promise to do better about communicating, but didn’t.

A Missed Opportunity

Two days before she died, I talked with a mutual friend whom I’d not heard from in a year. I was so excited that I wanted to call and tell my former best friend about the connection. It was too early to call her since she was not an early riser, so I put it off till later. Later never came. When I did think of calling her again, I remembered the feelings I had each time I called and she would tell her husband to tell me she’d call me back; she was not in the mood to talk, and I let the idea of the phone call pass. I was not willing to expose myself to disappointment even though we had not talked for months. I had wanted to share my joy with her, but didn’t because I did not want to feel the sting of rejection, should she not accept my call.

When my friend died, I chastised myself initially for missing the opportunity for that final conversation. But I did not dwell there long. Instead I focused on the question of whether, instead of protecting myself, could my extending myself more have helped her better cope with whatever was going on in her life. My conclusion--Probably not. She knew I was there. And as we drifted further and further apart, she became more and more private, not exposing those really dark places in her life to me. If I wandered there in our conversations, she would steer me back to safer ground. So, no, I couldn’t help in that manner. But still, I wondered what would have happened had I continued to try to push that door back open.

A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

 There is an email that circulates periodically about people being in our lives for reasons and seasons.  Though I had thought ours was a lifetime friendship, it wasn’t.  According to that email, it was seasonal.  I guess she understood that, and when our season was over, she let me go.  Had I tried to hang on, I would have simply been hurt more.  My friend’s death has taught me to love those who open themselves to my love for however long they welcome that love.  And when they no longer do, I must accept what they can offer—embrace the moments with them with all the joy I can muster, then let go.  What a hard lesson to learn—what a sad, but necessary one.

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Comments 10 comments

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

JDove, what a sad, sad hub this is and significant to me because I, too, have been distanced from my closest friend for the past ten years. It was political and all I can think when I consider calling her is how rude and insensitive she was to me. I don't think so much about what I did to her, but I don't forget it either. Your hub gives me strength to do the right thing.

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 7 years ago from Central North Carolina

You are so wise. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Jameen 7 years ago

Jackie, thanks for putting into words so much of what I have felt. You are so talented; you are so blessed!

bhtrouble 7 years ago


I was in our hometown a few weeks ago. I was surrounded by my family and friends. When they returned home and I was left alone in our hometown, I felt loneliness because I could not pick up the telephone and reach out to one of our best friends. That loneliness was different from any feelings that I had ever experienced. I wanted to cry but couldn't so I reflected on my good times with our friend and that seemed to lift me up. I said a prayer for our longtime friend and picked myself up from my pity-party. Jackie, you are a very special friend to me and as I have told you time and time again, I admire you and your courage.

Christopher C 7 years ago

Hi Jackie,

After having just read your heartfelt comments about your best friend (our mutual child hood friend),i know how much this hurts,as you two had a very special friendship,shaped by time and blemished by life.But please know that whatever happend over the last few years of that freindship,can never diminish those 50+ years of really being there for each other, and you espcially being there for her (particularly when no one else was).You must remember that you are only responsible for holding up your end of being a good freind.And that your freinds actions and behavior later in life,was not an indictment of your mutual freindhip, but of her own personal battle with the day to day struggles of living her own life and living out the hand that was dealt her.

You should go foward in life secure in the knowledge that,your freind (in a momnent of true candor and honesty)

would always know that you were there for her.

perhaps thats why she felt in her lifes turns ,and changes over these past few years that she ,knew that regardless of the emotional distance created, that you would be there forever as you have been,

And so will that freindship

Triangle C Savannah 69

JDove-Miller profile image

JDove-Miller 7 years ago from YOUNGSVILLE Author

Classmates: BHTrouble and Christopher,

Thanks for your deeply felt comments. I am so glad that our friendship has endured for over 50 years, regardless of the distance or circumstances. Much love.

To Everyone Else: Thanks to for your comments. That piece is extremely meaningful to me because I've had to deal with distancing myself from two very close relationships in order to protect my emotional self. Each time, it was extremely hard, and I never stopped loving the people. I just had to accept that my place in their lives had changed.

I'm sure others have been through similar situations, and that I've put their feelings into words also.jdove-miller

mzland3 7 years ago

Wonderfully expressed. Some friends come and go, but you have a lot of 50 yrs plus (eagles)friends that are here until we exist no more.

b. evans 7 years ago

I have been there! I had to determine whether that person was a part of my life for a reason or a season. The reason being was that they were ONLY meant to be there for a season and I thank God for that season because I have learned what it is to be a friend. Thank you for expressing the sentiments of those of us who can't put our feelings into words.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

((Hugs)). Dwell on the good memories...

Rharris1906 6 years ago

I thought about you this morning...and how Myrtle Beach 86' changed my life. How you modeled for me the importance of holding your head high, smiling through tears...and never let them see you breakdown. I also thought about you marking my papers to death, and writing what I considered at the time "useless comments." I appreciate those comments as I transitioned from college and to graduate school (2) times. If I never get the chance to tell made a difference in my life.

I enjoyed this so much. I might use it in therapy as a teaching tool. It is wonderful that you have learned to protect your "emotional self." Some people spend a lifetime...not knowing how to do this. I strive to teach this simple principle on a daily basis. My personal motto is--any relationship should last only as long as you have mutual respect for each other's self esteem. When you stop caring how I ....I gots to move on. Have a great one!

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