The grief of lost friendships
The loss of friendships in popular vernacular is always accompanied with a careless shrug, maybe even an air quote. It is perhaps easier to describe the loss as "Oh, we just grew apart" than saying "They broke my heart."
After all, friendships are supposed to be easy. They are supposed to be deep enough to provide sincere camaraderie, but not so deep that upon it breaking, it would shatter the person.
However, like any bond, friendships tend to not be so simple.
We spent most of our lives cultivating this seemingly harmless bond with people. As adolescents, we went home with our dost after school with scraped knees and no care for the world. Then the dawn sets, and our old friends get lost with the tides of time, and new waving faces of our "current" friends. The ones we picked a bit more consciously, ones we deem better suited as a companion for the person we have now become.
However, what gets seldom mentioned is losing a friendship, even the friendships we seem to just grow out of, hurts. It is like the sinking of a ship. One missed call becomes ten, and one day, you are just helpless to see your friend moving further and further away from you.
That's the thing about the friends we lose. We carve out a delicate space for them in our life, only to see that space empty. It is grief at its finest. After all, if it's not grief that rattles our empty hearts when we think of them, then what is this anguish?
In this way, losing our friends is often more intense than losing our lovers. When we are younger, we are unaware of the shackles around our hearts. We let friends in easily. As we grow older, we tie up these shackles and keep tightening them, until all we have left is this phantom pain and unspent love that we're afraid to bestow on anybody again.
That is why, even in adulthood, lost friendships hurt. Whether it is simply superficial exchanges, or even official cut off after months of decaying friendship, the grief is just as real.
Maybe that's why friendship breakups are so hard to articulate. Maybe it's easier to explain the hurt in air quotes or nervous chuckles. We lose people every day, in all manner of tragedies. So, why should this one tragedy be highlighted?
Friends occupy so much of our lives that it's easy to forget their importance to us. So, the next time you have your friend within your reach, appreciate the bravery of loving your friends with the force of a thousand suns, knowing that it may very well be temporary.
Appreciate the grief, which shows that your love wasn't weak. Appreciate your capacity to hold on to the people you've loved and lost.
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