I’m writing this letter here because I need to write it somewhere, and cannot send it to the friend I’m writing it to. She once read this blog, and is still one of the very few people who know me and also know I write this blog. I very much doubt she still reads this, but on the off-chance that she does, maybe she’ll see this. Also, I link to an online store in this post. This is not a paid promotion, nor do I receive anything from the site or anyone else if you click the link.

Dear friend,

Yes, I still call you friend. Sister. Outside of my husband and children, you are still one of the most important people who has ever touched my life. And you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. Well, in all fairness, you’re on my mind at least some part of every day. So I make a point of praying for you at least once every day.

I miss you. And I still love you. That’s mostly what I wanted to say in this letter. I may not always understand everything you go through, but I mourn for you, for the pain and hardness you deal with. So much of it sounds so familiar, so much like the things I go through, but I know it’s not the same. I see that in how it affects your life.

I don’t know how you’re doing lately. I don’t have any right to know, I guess. But it does make it a little hard to know how to pray for you. At least God knows.

You know the expression “he’s dead to me”? Or she is, or whatever. Like if someone leaves a strict religious culture or something. In reality, I’ve heard of cultures like that that have actual funeral services, but in the movies it seems like it’s always the father figure just yelling in anger about how the child is “dead” and never speaking to them again. Well, the reality for me is that ever since you told me that I make your life worse, not better, I have felt as though you died. I mourn our friendship as much as I mourned the loss of my grandmother. I see reminders of you every day. I think of you when I’m glancing through Think Geek and spot the tin of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot that I’d always wanted to get you but never had money for. I think of you when I see the mug your mother gave me for graduation, the beautiful friendship box you gave me, all sorts of things. The friendship box is the most precious to me. And when I see these things, my heart wrenches, and I selfishly mourn my loss all over again. But I also pray for you.

The reality is much worse. In reality, if our friendship ended through death, I would have left only the hope of seeing you in heaven. And that’s a beautiful hope, a beautiful reality. But instead, our friendship ended through a . . . a cutting off. I don’t know how else to describe it. All I feel is that one of the most important ties in my life was suddenly and horribly severed. And I live with the knowledge that I could still see you, except that I can’t still see you. And in my selfishness, that hurts enough. But I also live with the fear that something might happen to you, that you might actually die, and I would never have gotten to speak to you again. Other than that brief conversation where I apologized and you apologized and . . . and there’s forgiveness but not complete restoration.

I’ll admit, this fear is a bit more forefront in my mind right now because of the recent suicide of Robin Williams after his battle with depression. But that’s not the only reason. It’s something I fear frequently. And something I write letters to you about sometimes. Maybe one day I’ll send one . . . but I doubt it.

I constantly wonder, knowing how many times you told me that you tend to intentionally push people away even though you don’t want to, how much you were really mad at me and how much you were testing and pushing me. I do know that in my attempt to express my own struggles in our relationship, that I think I misspoke and said things I needed to talk to you about but perhaps at a bad time to try to talk about it. And perhaps not in the most clear way of what I meant, either.

I’d promised you I would do my best to never let you push me away if you tried. But you said the one thing that I couldn’t resolve. You could tell me I’m annoying, and I’d strive not to annoy you. You could tell me you didn’t like me, and I’d strive to be more likable. You could tell me almost anything, and I would try to figure out how to be a better person. Not for everyone, mind you, but for you, almost anything. And you could definitely tell me that you were horrible, that you were no good for me, all sorts of things, and I would say I didn’t care, that we would work through it.

But what you told me is that your life was worse because of me. And I don’t know how to fix that. And if my presence makes your life worse, that’s that. I refuse to make your life worse. Even if I wonder almost every day whether you really meant it or not. I’d rather pray for you from a distance than be near you and risk making your life worse.

I talk to you almost every day too, you know. Argue with you. Not like real fights, but things that I think maybe you wouldn’t understand or agree with. I argue with you in my mind until I determine whether I actually know my own reasoning or whether it’s something I should give up on, or at least research more.

In reality, I should say I argue with the you I knew. It’s been too long, and for nearly the last year of our friendship I felt you slipping away already. I felt like you really didn’t know who I was and I really didn’t know who you were. A big part of that was my own fault too. You once expressed a fear that you would be left out of my life once I was married. I strove so hard to keep you included in my life with my family that I forgot to make sure I was still included in your life too. But the reality, the result, remains: we don’t know each other anymore. Even if our friendship is ever somehow restored, we’ll need to learn one another all over again. Because I know I’ve changed a lot from who you knew, and I’m sure you have too though I don’t know in what ways.

But I do know that you still struggle in darkness. I know you’re still in pain. And I don’t have to know that darkness and pain specifically to pray for you. And I don’t need to know all the specifics to still love you. And I do still love you and pray for you. And that’s what I want you to know.

With love always from your sister in Christ,
[you know who]

Willow tree

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