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One of the hardest things I've ever had to do is not speak to someone. That sounds strange maybe, but it is an incredibly difficult endeavor for someone who loves to keep in touch (as this blog should prove).

I've had to stop communication with people lots of times in the past, and it never gets any easier. The first time was arguably the most difficult - though not the most gut wrenching - because it was a friend with an eating disorder who I realized I couldn't help. It took me years to realize it, but until she was ready to help herself, not even my friendship could make her happy.

Of course there are people who just fall off your radar, but I'm talking about cold turkey not speaking to someone anymore. The first two weeks are the worst. Because you inevitably run across something you know they would think is really funny, or an event they'd love to go to, but you can't send them the link. Then come the times when you might have regularly spoken to each other - like on the way home from a game or night out; but now you can't. Now you must abstain.

Because as my Aunt B once put it about one of the people I had to cut out of my life, he was like crack to me (if I did drugs, which I never have) and the only way to "quit him" was to eliminate all the places in my life he used to be.

I've always told myself that if one of these people ever showed remorse for whatever they did, or had grown up in a way that would make our friendship mutually beneficial and asked to be back in my life, that I would welcome them - maybe warily depending on the person - but they'd always be allowed back (turning the other cheek and whatnot).

Only one of the five or six has ever tried, although I now count two of the others as casual acquaintances. Now I fear I may have to add a few more people to my "silence" list. It's not an exciting proposition.

But it isn't about vengeance or selfishness, it's just that whatever kind of friendship I have with these people has become toxic in some way, where it hurts me more than it helps. Maybe I'm always the one who has to make the plans or be the listener or drive a distance. Maybe the other person hasn't put effort into the situation in recent memory. Or - in two cases - maybe they did something so horrible that I couldn't, in good conscience, continue to associate with them.

Still, it never gets easier. My heart still aches for the hole that is left; the space where our friendship used to be.

Some holes are bigger than others. Sometimes it feels like I've ripped something out by the roots, but that the roots actually had spread and grown under the surface in ways I couldn't begin to visualize until they left a void.

I know in the long run it's better. I know there are just some things that can't be fixed by one person alone. I know that the places that feel empty will fill with something else eventually.

Like a garden, I'm looking forward to the spring. Maybe some of my old friendships will come back and grow again. But if they don't, new people will appear as I continue to grow and change. And slowly, slowly, their voices will replace the silence.

Love always - even to those who don't hear from me anymore, ~Heather


Convenor said…
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