Monday, 18 February 2013

Weeding in the garden of friends

At times, I think of all the close friends I have, how they came into my life, the value of their friendships and the roads our relationships have taken. Prior to my miscarriage, I thought my close friends would now be keepers - I was wrong. It’s funny how significant events in your life impact your relationships and make you realise that the ones you thought would be the first in line to support you are no where to be seen.

There’s the old adage – “Friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I know I’ve had my fair share of all these types of friendships. I understand why friendships drift apart – people move in different directions, their lives change, their values change, their locations change. All these things happen, or you just realise you’re the only one putting any effort into the relationship. I’ve now learnt that if you are a true friend, and you have a true friend, your friendship will survive anything.

I’ve known my best friend for nearly 20 years. We met as teenagers and were absolute chalk and cheese. At times I have no idea how we became friends and I’m sure we both thought that once we had finished university our paths would drift. But they didn’t – our friendship continued  through me living overseas, her travelling through various parts of Australia, different relationships and numerous dramas. We had our fights, but we were always quick to forgive and move forward.

We forged our relationship in the days before text messages, email and Facebook. We forged it at a time when you had to speak on the phone and write letters and postcards. As a result, I know she will be there for me in an instant, and she knows the same about me. I now realise how very rare that kind of friendship is.  

Two of my closest friends that I’ve known for over 15 years have failed to show any concern, care or interest in me since the miscarriage. I’ve been shocked to realise the expectations I had of them as friends have been so wrong. It is totally unfathomable to me that neither of them have even bothered to ask me how I’m doing. I just wouldn’t behave like that if the shoe was on their foot but I guess that’s an indication of the different values we have in what makes a good friendship.

I knew it would be hard to maintain my friendships with these women when I have children as neither of them want them. I knew we would drift apart to a degree, but I always hoped the strength of our friendships, and love for each other, would prevail – I was wrong.  I know they both have their own internal struggles going on that cause this reaction so it’s not malicious but it hurts none the less. Especially when I’ve had to put my own issues aside to be there for them when they both needed me, but maybe that’s just me.

It’s sad to realise that friendships you thought you would have forever have a limited life expectancy. It’s disappointing to realise that so many years of friendship can be fractured, ignored and consciously disintegrated so easily. That’s the sad reality of what can happen when lives take different directions.

Friendships are like a garden – you have to water and nurture them to get them to grow. If you ignore them they start to die off and you have to put in a lot of work to bring them back to life. If you totally ignore them, they will die until you have no choice but to rip them out of the garden and throw them in the bin. I take the weeds out of my garden as soon as I see them. So I’m happy to put my gloves on and do some wedding because I prefer to put my time and energy into the beautiful , growing and flourishing flowers that are in my garden. Those are the ones I put the mulch, fertilizer and sprinklers around because they are the ones that I truly treasure and bring me the most joy. So to those of you who are my blooming roses, I thank you!  

Image by Simon Howden
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