The Death of a Friendship

It was 2008. We met in spin class. In between sprints and mountian climbs, we bonded over The Bachelor, dogs and our love for J.Crew. We became fast friends, which was a welcomed blessing after my husband and I had recently relocated and knew exactly nobody in our new city.

We met religiously three times a week at spin class, where we’d sweat out life’s problems, and routinely be yelled at by instructors for the incessent talking amongst us. She shared with me how her sister-in-law was dying of cancer and about her own infertility journey. I divulged equally private issues. We listened, cried and laughed together.

Over the course of three years, we did more than just “spin,” we Christmas shopped, had doggie playdates, emailed back and forth, before texting was a “thing,” and exchanged birthday presents. Our husbands became friends too, and we’d meet for dinner some nights or they’d come over and play cards. She cheered me on during my trialthon races, back when I actually did that, and our husbands completed a trialthon relay race together. She watched our labrodoodle, Sierra, numerous times when we went on vacations. I brought her a beaded bracelet back from Maui.

We were basically inseperable. She was more than a best friend. She was the big sister I had always wanted. She was older than me by about fifteen years, if I had to guess, but I never did muster up the courage to ask her age.

She was the first non-family member I told I was pregnant. And I was so nervous to do so given her infertility background. She and her husband were not able to have children. But she was so happy and joyful for me. She was encouraging along the journey and so genuinely excited for us. She and her husband even came to the hospital when our first child was born, bearing gifts and flowers, and enjoyed some baby snuggles.

But as the year progressed, I noticed a change in our friendship. It is no surprise that Savannah’s first year was undoubtly the hardest year of my life. She cried a lot, daycare was horribly hard for me, she had too may ear infections to count, and I was bascially a hot mess. I needed my mom, who lives half way across the country, and I had nobody. My friend pulled away, at the very time I desperately needed someone.

I know to her, someone who couldn’t have children, I probably looked like a disaster. Which I wouldn’t deny, so I tried to be sensitive to her, given her infertility journey and how she must have felt. And now I had a baby, and it was a challenge. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt many times and continued to reach out to get together, to walk to dogs, come over to dinner. But I felt the distance starting.

The next year, once Savannah turned one, I felt my life was turning a corner. I could “see the light” at the end of the tunnel, and I was no longer a “clueless” new mom. I was excited to tell my friend, while we were on a walk one day, that I was pregnant with number two.

And her reaction was less than thrilled for me, and I’ll never forget it. I’m so surprised. Wow. I am just so surprised. That was all she said, but it was also how she sounded with her judgy tone when she said it. Like how can you possibly have another child when appears you cannot even handle one?

When I had told my husband about it, he said, Oh, you are reading too much into it. She couldn’t possibly think that. You are over analyzing. 

So as the months progressed, I saw her almost not at all. I started to notice she began treating me like other people she no longer wanted to associate with, which I had witnessed first hand a couple times over the course of our friendship. I mentioned to my husband that I was starting to think my initial analysis of that conversation was correct.

She no longer attended spin. She blew me off when I had tried to schedule dog walking dates, she never emailed anymore, and if I emailed her, response times were very long. She no longer was able to watch our dog on our annual Christmas vacation to see my family. She was just distant, and there was an awkward feeling in the air the few times I did see her.

I made a last stitch effort once my second child was born to see if she wanted to come snuggle the baby. Surely, she’d want to see us, right? She did end up stopping by briefly, to see Scarlett. But, in an odd sense, the visit felt like a goodbye. And my husband, who was also there, agreed that the visit felt final. There was no, let’s get together soon, or come over while you are on maternity leave. It was just over.

It has almost been four years, and I have not seen her again. And in hindsight, if I had known that was the end, I would have tried to save it. Asked her how we can salvage this friendship because it is too important for me to let go of.

Not every friendship is “friends forever,” and I get that, but this one felt so personal. She just cut me off without so much as an explanation. I didn’t want it to end. It wasn’t just a friendship where someone moves away, or you naturally drift apart, or mutually just go your seperate ways. I have had those friendships too, and it has not saddened me. I know that not every friendship stands the test of time or circumstances, but this one should have. It was deep enough to and yet, somehow, it still died. And I don’t know why, but I feel responsibile for that.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to run into her somewhere. Would we be friends again? Probably not. But I would love to tell her that I am sorry our friendship ended. And that it took me a little while to figure out being a mom, but I am OK at it now (most days, anyway). And I do not harbor any ill will towards her, but I wish the best for her.

And I miss her.

To be honest, it took me a couple years to open up and find other friends to invest in after this. I was afraid of being hurt and having the rug pulled out from under me again.

I realize now that I cannot control other people’s actions or feelings toward me. All I can do is be myself, be real with those I care about, give grace, be kind and show love. And if that is not enough than there is nothing more I can do. I have some wonderful women in my life now. And they are friends and a couple of sisters-in-law who get me and require no explanation of circumstances. They are kind, supportive and refrain from judgment. They love me and my flaws on good days and bad days. And I am so thankful for them. You know who you are.