By Jamie Lindsey
The virtues of a true friendship are sometimes built early in life between two people.
Growing together during teenage years, finding yourselves in your 20s, watching your families intertwine and love each other are the experiences that commonly bond friendships. These experiences blossom into an amazing, long-lasting friendship with a million memories behind and a million more to go. Friendships like these are the kind everyone wants to hold onto. Growing old with your best friend was something that, as kids, were always part of our life plans.
Which is why it has been so hard to face that that friendship I always wanted and came to have, is now split into a “before and after” part of my life, scattering pieces of the millions of memories behind. My life has changed in so many ways since my 12-year friendship was torn apart. I have learned many lessons both during the “before” and “after.”
My life before the end of this friendship was one I struggled through. Without going into detail, there were many things in my life that were hard to deal with, but I dealt with it knowing that I had a best friend by my side. I had someone who, without a doubt, would always be there for me. This person would always have my back, always be my support system, and always be the person on the other end of the phone. It was the same for her. I was always there to be her support system. She meant everything to me and I would do anything for her. Her children were a big part of my life since they were born. Like her, I would do anything for them. Going on adventures was a part of our lives, with or without her kids. Concerts, hikes, road trips and coffee dates were our norm. These were the things we loved to do. Thrift store day was our favorite day and was something we looked forward to every week, almost creating a ritual of finding cute clothes or artwork for cheap! It was the everyday text, the random stop with coffee in-hand and the spaghetti nights that I miss so much. This was my life before this friendship ended. Despite whether she remembers any of this or thinks about any of it, I think about it all the time. Whatever person is to blame, however our lives end up, these will be the things I hold onto. I had someone with whom I could share everything. This part of my life is, unfortunately, no more. This friendship is gone and my life has changed in a drastic way and I have learned some lessons from this experience.
My life after this friendship ended has drastically changed. At times, I feel confident going into situations and at other times, I feel dragged down by this invisible force. That friendship breakup was just as bad as a regular breakup. I felt the pain in every part of my body and felt depressed for weeks. It was one of the most difficult things I had been through. After everything we went through together, this pain was one I would have to face alone. After 12 years of friendship, that person was now just an absence in my life. Fortunately, I wasn’t all alone. I have a boyfriend who is there for me and has helped me through a lot of this. It is difficult not knowing who you are without your best friend. Life is a puzzle without that person there. The advice you used to receive about life decisions is no longer available. That shoulder to cry on isn’t there anymore. Adjusting to this new lifestyle was a process, but I feel like I’m thriving in new ways. I have learned that friendship doesn’t mean everything. My family is the most important thing to me and I know that I would do anything for them and they would do anything for me. They accept me for who I am and the choices I have made in my life. My family continues to love and support me no matter what. I have an aunt who recently lost her friendship of over 30 years and she taught me that same lesson. I have relied more on my family than any friend can ever provide. I do cherish the friendships I still have in my life, but it’s hard to imagine a new friend will be able to fill the void my best friend left. It feels like one of those “once you’ve had it, you’ll never have it again” situations. I have friendship in other ways: with my partner. He is the best friend I will ever have in my life. Together, we will grow.
Despite it all, I’m doing just fine and am glad to have learned some life lessons in the process. To many people, their friends mean everything. To others, it’s family. To everyone else, it’s both! I am happy to have the memories of the best friendship I ever had, even if it ended on bad terms. I am happy to have my family and my partner here so I don’t feel so alone. I thought I would feel so “lost” in the world without that friendship, but I have learned that there are so many other people that want to spend their time with me. There are other people who want to hear my stories, be my support system and have coffee dates. I have spaghetti nights with people who genuinely care about me and celebrate with me.
The saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to not love at all,” directly applies to this experience. I am thankful to have had that kind of friendship in my life. I have learned a lot about trust, loyalty and honesty throughout the entire process. I have learned how I can be a better friend and how to filter who I allow in my life. I have learned what and who I truly value. Life is so short. Don’t choose the wrong people to spend it with.