Friday, January 03, 2014

Reflecting on the Loss of Friends

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year’s. Last year, my husband and I were both sick, so it was nice to enjoy the holidays this time. We enjoyed Christmas with just the two of us. Technically four when you count the two black cats that were playing in the shredded wrapping paper. I had fun stirring them up even more with my new Despicable Me Talking Minion. He talks, giggles, and sings!

One thing happened that made me reflect on friends past and present. Before my husband and I were even dating, we worked for a contracting company in Arkansas and were good friends with another employee, Debbie. She was one of those happy, free spirits that is a joy to be around. We lost track of her for a couple years, and then got to visit Debbie and her husband in Orlando on several book signing treks south.

We didn’t get a Christmas card in 2012, and I don’t think I sent one. But I sent one for 2013 just to let Debbie and her husband know we were thinking about them and missed them.

We get a letter from her husband, apologizing that he didn’t have our address and the phone number he’d tried was disconnected.

Two years ago, Debbie committed suicide.

My husband and I are still in shock. It was due to a situation with her family, but we just can’t fathom Debbie killing herself over it. Our heart goes out to her husband.

I went through my photo albums and gathered every photo I could find of Debbie and sent it on a CD Rom to her husband. As I looked through the pictures, I thought of other friends I’d not seen or spoken to in a while. I was an only kid, so solitude is often my thing, and I wonder if that works against me sometimes. How many friends have slipped away because I haven’t maintained contact? Even the Internet, it’s easy to let time pass without interaction. That’s something I need to work on.

How many friends have you lost contact with due to neglect? Can you do something about it now?

42 comments:

J.L. Campbell said...

Diane,
So sorry to hear what happened to your friend. It's so easy to lose track of our friends.

It happens to me as well - the lack of contact, I mean. Months will go by before I pick up the phone to call family. It's something I'm trying to put a top on - the busyness that leaves little time for anything else.

Donna Hosie said...

Such a sad story, Diane.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry about your friend. I've lost two friends to suicide too. It's hard. And yes, I do lose touch with friends too much. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of staying in touch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's so sad. I've lost track of so many friends over the years. That's what happens when you move around a lot.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Diane. Yes, I'm bad about keeping in touch and I've let far too many friends slip away. Thanks for an important reminder.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you. I've since sent several friends messages, letting them know I'm thinking about them.

Bish Denham said...

This is a poignant and important post. It is so easy to let "things" get in the way of relationship.

I had a similar experience this year. My childhood best friend died suddenly and unexpectedly. We'd lost touch, it had been a least 10 years since we last spoke. But his death caught me off guard. I was surprised by the intensity of my emotions knowing he was gone.

I've been working to keep in better touch with friends. We just never know when they may leave us for good.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So sorry about your friend. I too have lost track of friends as we all moved around spread out across the country.

Jemi Fraser said...

So sorry about your friend! What a kind thing to do with the photos - good memories for her husband. I'm not great at keeping in contact with folks once they've moved away either - keep trying to get better though.

Karen Walker said...

I've lost contact with so many friends over the years. It saddens me. I did re-connect with an old friend from childhood but found we had nothing in common anymore. I don't know if I would reach out to anyone from the past. It's an interesting question, Diane. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That's truly heartbreaking.

Two of my oldest, closest friends passed away suddenly last year. It was a shock then, and it's still a shock now.

Magical Mystical MiMi said...

Wow.. That is so sad and I'm very sorry.. We lost a few friends this year too and it's so difficult trying to make sense of it all..
New Year's hugs to you..

D.G. Hudson said...

We never know what personal burdens others carry. So sorry for you getting this sad news.

I've lost a few friends, some to illnesses and some just fall by the wayside when we don't have as much commonality as we once had.

Life can be harsh. Let's hope 2014 is an uplifting year. We could use one.

shelly said...

Oh my goodness! This year I didn't get a card from one of my friends. I'm going to call her.

Hugs and chocolate!
Shelly

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. that is so sad for Debbie's family .. devastating for them and such a shock for you.

I'm quite good at keeping in touch .. but doesn't say the same for friends and relatives ... I do keep in touch as much as I can ...

I'm glad you a happy Christmas this year .. and now a Happy 2014 .. cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Bish, all we can do is hold the memory of them in our heart.

Karen, there are some that used to be friends but we are so different now.

Shelly, you should call her.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Diane, this is a thought-provoking post. I sometimes wonder if the happy outside folks are not really happy inside. Losing your friend that way is truly shocking. Writers and creative people like we are often get caught up in the many things we are doing and lose contact with friends from the past. My mother used to tell me, "You can't do everything." I wish we could.

Mary Montague Sikes

Gossip_Grl said...

Oh my gosh! How sad and a painful reminder that I too have lost touch with several friends over the years. I have searched Facebook, but that doesn't mean anything not everyone has a Facebook, but I will try and contact them this year. I know I am late in saying, but wishing you all the best and success in 2014.

Yvonne Osborne said...

That is so sad and your post really struck a cord with me. I used to hear from a couple of old friends every Christmas. Not just a card but long, newsy letters that I really looked forward to. I keep sending cards with notes (though I admit they keep getting shorter and shorter) but I have not heard a peep out of these friends for about four years now. My cards are never returned, so I assume they have been received. So why haven't they responded??

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. A suicide is especially heartbreaking, all the self-blame that goes around in the aftermath. Hope you have a happy 2014.

Jessica Lawson said...

I am so sorry about your friend. That's heartbreaking. I have several friends/acquaintances that I often wonder about, but we've just drifted apart.

Clarissa Draper said...

What is sad story. I often think about old friends myself and go on the internet looking for them. Some of them i have never found. I hope her husband appreciate the disc that you sent with the pictures.

J E Oneil said...

That's so sad. I'm sorry about your friend. It's hard enough to drift away from someone, but to lose them completely...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Oh, Diane, I'm so sorry. Suicide is a different kind of loss, layered with so many complexities. I've had two very close people in my life die by suicide. My heart goes out to you, her husband and everyone affected.

I've been missing a former blog/email friend. The last I heard from her, she was in a lot of pain and hating the aging process. She's gone off-line. I found a few possible phone numbers, yet I'm too scared to call. Your post is probably the push I need.

Hugs to you,
xoRobyn

Denise Covey said...

Happy New Year L. Diane!
What a thoughtful post to begin the year with. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep in contact with the many friends we make over our lives. It is impossible to keep in contact with everyone. There is always guilt associated with suicide which is why it's called a selfish act, but if someone is low enough in spirit to commit suicide, it's not selfish to them, they just want to be rid of the pain. My heart goes out to Debbie's husband. How tragic.

I hope you can come to terms with this sadness and move on into 2014 with a lighter heart.

Michelle Wallace said...

Oh Diane, I'm sorry to hear about your friend...
It's so sad when one hears such news. I'm the kind who asks myself, could somebody have said or done something for that friend, that may have averted the tragedy? Maybe. Probably not. Who knows?
But on the other hand, I always think that it probably takes unimaginable pain/despair for suicide to be regarded as an outlet... it's not an overnight decision...
Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous 2014.
Writer In Transit

Kimberly said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. It's definitely happened with us too being military and moving around.

Steven said...

Oh wow, sorry to hear about your friend. I've lost touch with many friends for many silly reasons.

Julie Luek said...

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your friend. It always breaks my heart, as it should, when someone -- whether I know them or not-- takes their own life. Such sad and lonely despair. It is haunting. I tend to be a happy hermit and one of my goals is to nurture friendships a bit more. Your post today is exactly why it's so important to do so.

Jo said...

How very sad. If nothing else I try to keep up with people at Christmas time by sending cards. Had one card I sent to a couple, the reply came from the wife although she didn't say anything, but.....

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Mary, sometimes I wonder that as well.

Yvonne, you should call them, just so you know.

Clarissa, I'm sure he will.

Robyn, do it. You might be the voice she needs to hear.

Michelle, I won't reveal specifics, but her husband had virtually no warning.

Jo, makes you wonder.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Diane. My thoughts and prayers go out to Debbie's husband and family. I've lost touch with many friends over the years. I've tried to reconnect with a few of them, but I guess the time gap was too great for us to pick up and continue the friendship. I'm planning on trying harder to stay in contact with friends and family.

Milo James Fowler said...

We think we're so connected via FB these days, but we don't see what's going on behind the false front.

Sherry Ellis said...

What a shock for you to hear about Debbie! I'm so sorry!

This is a good reminder to try to stay in contact with our friends. Facebook and the blogosphere are good places to do that.

Lady Lilith said...

Cute photograph. I know many people who would love to have a minion like yours.

Misha Gericke said...

It's terrible to hear when a friend has died. Even when you lose contact with them.

I'm the same as you, in a sense. Although I'm not an only child, I'm kind off a person who doesn't mind being alone so much.

At the moment, I'm losing contact with a lot of friends, since we're moving into different phases in our lives, and having less and less in common. :-/

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I admire those who make a special effort to keep in touch with friends despite time and distance. My mom was like that, and so are my sisters, but I'm not, and it's something I regret. So sorry to hear about your friend Debbie. That is truly sad.

cd sutton said...

Prayers for continual strength of you and the family of your lost friend. A very significant reminder to remember how important our friends are to us!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Milo, that is so true.

Misha, and that happens. Sometimes their purpose was only to be there for a season.

Karen, I know people who excel at it, but I'm just not one of them.

Denise, they are.

Rhonda Albom said...

Moving overseas we have lost touch with so many people. This is a good reminder to look them up. Sorry for your loss.

Ellie Garratt said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Diane. Such a tragic and senseless loss. Suicide is something I will never be able to understand. You are right - how many of our friends have we lost contact with over the years? My advice is to pick up the phone, email, or track them down online. As you've shown, it can be too late. Thinking of you both.

Jai Joshi said...

Diane, my goodness, I'm so sorry!

Friends are precious, and yet it's so easy to lose contact. Especially if we live far away. I have so many friends now in different parts of the world and occasionally we'll email, or skype, or phone, but it's not the same as being able to see each other every week. And the more time that passes the easier it is to lose track.

Jai

Robin said...

Diane, this is such sad news. I am so sorry for your loss.