After Sunday’s memorial for such an important, positive woman, I have been a bit melancholy. Mourning this loss is dredging up all kinds of emotions around various losses in my life.
Death is such a straightforward kind of loss. When someone dies, it isn’t personally hurtful – it is just tragic and sad. Losing this woman, whom we called “Aunt” despite having no shared DNA, is so terribly sad. But I understand that feeling.
I am also currently experiencing grief around the loss of a few friendships, and I am finding it much more difficult to process this grief. These people didn’t die, they chose to leave me, which feels like a personal blow. And that isn’t a straightforward kind of sadness.
At my Aunt’s memorial, many speeches were given, and we all laughed through our tears as we remembered her. She was the type of person who you can’t help but remember with joy and laughter. Listening to the way people talked about her and celebrated her was inspiring – it made me want to strive to leave an equally positive mark on people’s memories.
But… will people remember me that way? Did these lost friends leave me precisely because I’m not that kind of person? I must have been a negative presence in their lives! How else can you explain a sudden, complete end to all communication? There were no fights, no significant events precluding the end of the friendships… they just…stopped.
My Aunt was so likable, having my friendships end for seemingly no reason makes me feel so very unlikable.
One other remarkable thing about my Aunt’s memorial was that there were so many people giving speeches who had known her for decades. Friends with whom the friendships endured a lifetime. What a special person she was to be able to cultivate and maintain such meaningful relationships.
While I’m experiencing the loss of some friendships that I thought were meaningful and lasting, I am feeling so insecure. I thought I had what my aunt had in these (now lost) relationships. I thought they got as much out of our friendships as I did, and I thought they were strong, enduring friendships.
…I thought I’d have people like that to speak at my funeral someday.
Maybe the friendships will come back. Maybe they won’t. All I know is that for now, I am grieving. I’m grieving my Aunt with a clear, simple, understandable grief. And I’m battling with the complicated, unsettling, hurtful grief from the loss of some important friendships. Both kinds of grief are heavy, and they have planted loneliness and questions in my heart.
But the universe gave me a sign today. Below is a picture of the fortune I received in my fortune cookie at lunch. There is certainly room – and need – in my heart for a new friend. What a lovely thought that I have that to look forward to.