Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Old Friends

I was looking over my ancient journals, trying to find a poem I wanted to share here. Instead, I found this. It is the draft of the goodbye letter I wrote to my one girlfriend back in the midwest when my husband and I left for Oregon nineteen years ago. Terry and I had been friends since  first grade. I was 29 years old when we moved away…

I’m afraid I have to fashion my own goodbye, or feel I was being untrue to myself. Each time a member of my family tore away from me to journey out West, there was no proper goodbye---only a sort of "We’ll be seeing you" or "We’ll keep in touch." Never a release of the sadness of parting. Never an acknowledgment that a time of closeness was ending and a time of distances beginning.

I have learned through the absences of my sisters that distances do change relationships. Much as we hope against just that when we embark on our separate journeys, and much as we swear to each other that it WILL NOT happen, still it must.

Sometimes I have yearned so achingly for what once was that I thought I would drown in uncried tears. Perhaps that is more than a small part of what causes me to make my own journey now. And yet, I leave someone behind who would tip the scales toward staying, if that were the only reason for going.

We are given family from birth, with no option to say we want them or we don’t. We grow to love them because we know nothing else. But we choose our friends. Long ago, and it is long ago, you and I chose each other. Through the years, it has often looked as if one of us had outgrown the other, or as if some storm would finally destroy us. Yet, somehow, we never seem to have really had the choice of reversing our decision to love one another as sisters. Love is often stronger than whatever life can deal to it.

…Please, never forget that our friendship has always been something absolutely special to me—at times it has been my lifeline to the rest of the human race when I would have thought that humanity had abandoned me.

Our friendship will not end here. It will simply change here, in ways we can’t understand or foresee because we are still young. Know that I love you and always will, for long ago, when we chose each other as friends, I believe we chose for life.

1 comment:

  1. That's so sad that you had to leave your friend! Are you still in touch with her?