Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Final Picture

Seeing the final picture was a punch to the gut, apparently one more than I could endure.

I saw it on Facebook last night as I was mindlessly perusing the pictures of new babies and end-of-summer vacations, and about fifty links to the YouTube video of a Jewish singing group singing a popular Hebrew song to the tune of Anna Kendrick's "Cups."

I knew that she was getting married this past Sunday. All day, as I enjoyed the last hours of my Jersey Shore family vacation, people I knew were posting pictures of the festivities. I could almost follow the events in real time as I refreshed my Facebook feed.

She got her nails done. Got dressed. Took pictures. Walked down the aisle. Stood under a chuppah and married her man. Danced the afternoon away.

And I wasn't there, because she didn't want me to be there.

Every time a new picture was posted on Sunday it was more evidence that what we had was no longer. Every time I saw the smiling faces of people I have known for twelve years - many of whom remain my closest friends today - my stomach jumped, but didn't settle.

I was in a free-fall, never quite knowing when I would hit the ground.

Day became night and the pictures slowed as the afternoon wedding came to an end. I went to sleep, still reeling from the constant barrage of documentary proof of the end of a friendship that I had always assumed would last forever. And I woke up yesterday morning resigned to the fact that Sunday was just substantiation of what I had really already known.

And then last night I saw the final picture.

A semi-darkened ballroom. All of my college friends huddled together, arms around each other. Her in the center, smile beaming, wedding dress glowing.

Maybe it was seeing everyone together that got to me, but I found myself staring at the picture, looking for an empty space that I would have filled. Wondering if anyone was thinking about me. Wondering if she was.

Tears pricked my eyes as the loneliness that had been hovering since Sunday came crashing in. I laid down on my bed and let them flow. I cried for myself, for her, and for the girls we used to be before everything changed. I cried for the whole life that I will have that she won't be a part of. I cried for the new husband she has that I have never met, and for the kids I hope to have that she will never know. I cried for a friendship that was once full of promise and fun. I cried because that's what I do when the hurt is too deep for words.

And when I finally cried myself dry I sat up and I understood. All the complexity had been washed away and I was left with only this.

I miss my friend.



32 comments:

  1. "I found myself staring at the picture, looking for an empty space that I would have filled. Wondering if anyone was thinking about me. Wondering if she was."

    Growing up, growing apart -- on occasion growing closer. It's tough stuff. You shared it beautifully.

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  2. I'm so sorry! This would be so hard and painful. Well-written, as always!

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  3. Yep. I remember sitting on my dorm bed across from my three closest friends (one was my current roommate) as they told me they were going to live in a triple without me the next year. I was the only one crying. Sorry, friend.

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  4. I remember your first post about this friendship. My heart breaks for you. And her. Losing friendships, change, life in general is so very difficult. Your writing thoroughly engages me.

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  5. It is sad when friendships drift but it's a natural part of life. Both friends need to make a concerted effort to keep the friendship alive.

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  6. So heartbreaking! And it sounds like maybe nothing really even happened. My current best friends are not my college friends. It seems it changes when you get married. And then again when you have kids. You will have many awesome friendships yet to come! But it doesn't make it any easier to lose this one. I'm sorry.

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  7. Ouchie. :( Sending you hugs and a virtual kleenex. This was so beautifully written it left me feeling so, so sad. I hope your hurts heal.

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  8. A good friend and I had a falling out just as I was preparing to move 1000 miles away. A year later when I was going through a divorce, she reached out and we both made amends. Our friendship isn't as close as it once one, but it was nice to reconnect.
    I know how painful it is to lose a friend, so I'm so sorry.

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  9. This totally sucks. I'm glad you didn't push your feelings down anymore because they will just eat away at you. I have recently found my once-closest friend is suddenly "stepping out" with other people. It's fine, of course, because we're grown ups and there's no rule that she can't have other friends. But it's weird to find out from those other people.
    I hope you're feeling better today.

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  10. Oh honey! I remember reading your other post about this loss. I bet she thought of you on her day, and I bet some part of her missed you as well. Beautiful post, though I wish that hadn't happened to you.

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  11. Oh Sam, this is heartbreaking. Losing a close friend is a hurt that never fully goes away; made worse by the fact that they never fully go away as long as there it social media. I hope the hurt subsides with time.

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  12. Your words resonated with me. I, too, am grieving the loss of a friendship I thought would last a lifetime, but I haven't yet had the courage to write about it. So, thank you for being brave enough to share this so poignantly. You captured difficult emotions so beautifully.

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  13. Ugh. Like the others I remember your other posts. It's brutal and Facebook makes it worse!

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  14. Such a sad post and sad moment. I know friends drift, but terrible when it isn't at your choosing. The powerless feeling is pretty awful. And I think weddings have a way of making things like that worse. I had a falling out around mine (different, but I still remember it pretty clearly). Well written, though.

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  15. :( I've been there.. But its often my fault..

    We're often powerless in letting life run its course aren't we? But that doesn't make the loss any easier,

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  16. It is so sad when you realize a former friend is having milestones that you will not be a part of it. You miss the you that you were with her. And you miss her. And you miss those fun times together. It leaves me wondering what happened between you two . . . a falling out, a drifting apart, a betrayal? Regardless, it doesn't make the hurt any less. I've been there. Sorry for the pain. Social media can really bite us in the ass sometimes.

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  17. Oh, Samantha, my heart totally goes out to you. I think that many of us can relate. Whether there was a falling out or the friendship just ran its course, it is always hard. Maybe something will bring you back together in the future, and if not, I hope you can look back fondly on the good times of your friendship.

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  18. This is beautiful. I too have been in this position more than once, and yes the facebook posts and other media only makes it worse. Its even harder I think when someone has cut off all contact, but then you see things pop up through some mutual friend who is still in contact. That person is a part of things while you are not. I can also say that I have broken with friends only to find them again many years down the road, maybe not on the same terms or level as before, but still there. So there is always hope.

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  19. Really well told. I have lost good friends and find myself doing the same thing... looking at their lives go on through Facebook and feeling sad that I am not a part of it. I don't know what happened between you too, but if she misses you as much as you miss her, maybe there is a way to patch things up. Sometimes it just takes that one person to swallow their pride and take the first step. But again, I don't know the story of what went down.

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  20. You write about heartbreaking moments with such beauty, grace, and honesty. Losing a friend is so difficult, and FB makes it insufferable. I'm glad that you are healing, and I hope that the two of you can reconnect someday.

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  21. Sadness! It's for exactly reasons like this that I don't think Facebook is a very healthy hobby - you just see all the (edited, selected) high moments of people's lives without all the rest.

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  22. Many hugs. That sort of hurt takes a long, long time to heal. It simply aches and you wrote it beautifully.

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  23. It's so hard to lose friends you love, and to forgive yourself for letting them slip away. Lots of hugs and loves to you - know you have a great community of writers behind you.

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  24. My best friend and I had a similar story. It took ten years for us to realize that the things that came between us were trivial, and to put them behind us. It was at our 10 year high school reunion, we took one look at each other, started crying, hugged, laughed, and moved on. I wish you the same, only sooner.

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  25. I have a good friend who actually quit Facebook just because it was making her feel bad. I hope that you will try to forgive her (and yourself). The pain will not always be there, and I have had friends leave my life and then come back in later on. You never know.

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  26. Ouch...that is facebook at its worst. I found myself unfriending the last of my college friends after seeing the 40th bday getaway the rest of them had together. Your writing is so crystal clear and honest. i felt your pain (and mine) all over!

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  27. Oh Sam, this is both beautiful and painful. I have been in that position, and it hurts SO MUCH. Giving ourselves permission to miss those friends is so important; it's not that we'd necessarily change things (some endings are inevitable), but we miss them, and that's okay.
    You describe this unique type of grief perfectly.

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  28. "I found myself staring at the picture, looking for an empty space that I would have filled. Wondering if anyone was thinking about me. Wondering if she was."

    Oh man. You just ripped my heart out.

    Growing apart is so hard. *hugs*

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  29. so sad. losing a friend is like getting a divorce. it's so hard moving on, especially with reminders like this. but time really does heal you, maybe not fully, but it does, and the future is open... you never know what will be.. xoxo

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  30. This is so touching. I bet she (and they) really did think about you. But it's hard to be the odd man out. I know how it feels, although I've not had to live it on facebook yet.

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  31. Congrats on winning!! I see on your sidebar you won the jury prize and editor's pick. I can understand why, this was fabulous. It brought tears to my eyes.

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