Grief is a difficult experience to work through. Everyone experiences grief differently. When someone is working through grief we often like to jump in with words of advice that we hope will comfort the person. “Don’t cry because you lost the person. Smile that they were in your life to begin with.” “Time will heal this hurt in your heart.” “You’ll see them again one day.” Blah, blah, blah! Empty words that do not comfort the person feeling the hurt. All those words do is inflate the person who says them, making them feel useful and important in a moment when there are no words that can help at all.
Some people work through their grief quickly. Others bury their grief, never deal with it, and years later it comes back to smack them in the face like a brick wall. Out of nowhere, when they least expect it, it all comes flooding in demanding to be dealt with in that moment. The longer grief is delayed the more it grows and becomes more difficult to work through.
I am not writing this to lecture on the benefits of working through grief in a timely fashion. How everyone deals with their moments of grief is completely up to them. What I want to write about today is that I believe that my period of grief has finally come to an end. It’s been almost two years. That seems like a very long time, even to me, to mourn, but something very small slowed down my healing. Hope.
Here’s my story . . .
Eight years ago I met a man who I came to think of as my best friend. I can look back now and see that I inflated his importance in my life. At the time though Brian quickly became my world. I can name the exact moment that we became friends. It was a Saturday afternoon at work. He was on the air in one studio and I was on the air in another studio. We were friends on Facebook and I had shared a post about Drum Corps International. Brian came down the hall to my studio and asked, “you like DCI, too?” That was the moment. We became friends.
Over the next six years Brian and I shared our lives. We talked about everything. We laughed. We cried. We fought. We had a period where our stubbornness kept us from speaking for four months. I was there with him through his bouts of depression. He was there when I got territorial and jealous, because I felt like nobody was worthy enough for him. I went through a period where I felt like I had to protect him from everyone because everyone was bound to hurt him. He was tender. He was fragile. He had unhealed wounds that needed to be nursed, and I was the only one that could nurse those wounds. But truth was that he was not tender or fragile. He did have wounds, but I was not the person to help him heal them. Complete truth be told, I needed him to be broken because that was the foundation that our friendship was built on. If he wasn’t broken then I had no place in his life and I couldn’t fathom that happening.
I molded the friendship into what I felt I needed to complete my life. This was best seen when he would get a new girlfriend. Competition! Rather than trying to get along with his new girlfriend, I would turn into a raging ball of jealousy. I would shut him out. I would speak negatively of his girlfriends. What I was trying to do was make him see that I was the only female that he needed in his life. What I was actually doing was showing him that I was not a female that he needed in his life at all. I can see that now. I couldn’t see that at the time.
Three years ago my best friend found a relationship with Jesus Christ. I had already found that relationship a few months earlier, and so when he got saved and baptized my be best friend became my brother. This could not have made me happier. Life was perfect in our friendship. I had the privilege of watching him grow into a man of Christ. He was starting to shed the demons that he had carried for so many years. He was discovering his self-worth, and he was searching for his purpose on this earth. His transformation was such a thing of beauty to watch that it increased my faith exponentially. But a person can not serve two masters.
God brought a woman into Brian’s life that was obviously molded just for him. Their romance was nothing short of whirlwind. They married just a few months after they started dating. Our friendship came to an end six months later. Yes, I am guilty of encouraging Brian to follow where God was leading him, to marry the woman God put before him, and then turning on Brian and his new wife and trying to convince him that his wife was bat crap crazy.
My routine held up to the end . . . when Brian needed me I made sure I was there, but when Brian didn’t need me then I ran him down and ran down whomever it was that was in his life.
Two years ago Brian walked out of work, and he walked out of our friendship. I took it hard, and I placed all the blame on him. I was the victim and he was the piece of crap that threw me and our six-year friendship away like it was an empty burger wrapper. I cried. I yelled. I poured out my anger and grief in my writing. Much of that can be found in posts from the last two years. In short, I mourned. But my mourning was misdirected because I was placing all the blame on him, and I was mourning as if I had no part in how the end came. Today, though, I can look back over the past eight years . . . six years of friendship, and two years since the end . . . and I can finally see why he left. I can finally see what my part was, and I can finally see that I was the cause of the end I so desperately tried to avoid.
I say all of that to say this: I have been given another chance. Not with Brian, but with someone else. A new person has been brought into my life and the connection was fast and strong. Instant friendship from the day that we met. It’s a bit scary to be starting this path all over again. I know that I am over thinking everything about this friendship, overanalyzing, questioning, seeking affirmation, but I am so scared of messing up again, of messing up another friendship. I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust myself to not go bat crap crazy again. I don’t trust myself to not become jealous again. I don’t trust myself to turn on him and drive him away. The only thing I can do is try and learn from my mistakes, the mistakes that I made with Brian, and then take everything one day at a time. Everything in me is screaming to guard myself, not to jump in, to build a wall around my heart, to protect myself from getting hurt again. But the truth is that Brian is not the one that hurt me. I am the one that hurt me, and the only person I need protection from is myself.
I am no longer mourning a friendship that Brian ran out on, that Brian threw away. I am no longer mourning something that he destroyed. It took two years for me to finally see the truth behind that happened. Now I am mourning the friendship that I brought to an end, and I am hoping from the ashes of that friendship that a new friendship can be built on the healed wounds that I inflicted on my own heart.
Until next time . . .