Oh my gosh, I could go on FOREVER with a list of people who've made such a great impact on my life but who are no longer around. There was this guy I worked with at Little Caesar's when I was in my late teens. His name was Scott and we laughed every day virtually from the moment we punched in until I drove him home. He lived a block away, but often we had to continue whatever we had been laughing about all day so I'd have to take him home.
Then there was Helen, this really nice lady I worked with when I was in my late 20's. It was a hotel near the Detroit Airport. Again, this is someone I mostly remember laughing with all day, someone who made going to work a true pleasure. I miss you, Helen!
But I think the person who stands out most in my mind is my friend, Michelle. We had been good friends since we were 12 years old when I transferred to her school. We remained friends through all the ups and downs of high school and into our 20's. When I got married, we didn't see each other as much but remained close. As we get older, it's not as important to see people all the time but I just knew she and I were still friends. She got married shortly after I had Owen and we always joked about when we were old widows we'd get an apartment together somewhere and argue all the time (as friends who are more like sisters often do!)
After I moved to Wisconsin, things went south quickly. It wasn't the geographical change, it was more what was going on in her life. Her marriage wasn't going well and she struggled with infertility. I'd make an effort to spend time with her when I visited family in Michigan, but she never wanted to see me if I was with my family. She confessed to me, finally, that it was "very difficult to be around kids and especially babies" since she so badly wanted one of her own. Her marriage has since ended and at 38, I'm sure it's very difficult for her to accept that she's not at all where she wanted to be in her life. I stopped making an effort to reach out to her and we haven't spoken in over a year.
I've felt so hurt by this. As my friend, shouldn't she have put aside her own feelings and be happy for me that I have a family? I'm certain we would still be friends if I were still single, but I can't put my own dreams on hold just because she is unable to fulfill hers. Anyway, it's very sad because we had been friends for 20 years and now we casually ask mutual acquaintances about each other, but neither of us reach out directly.
I've thought about sending her a Christmas card this year (with my kids' faces blocked out, of course) just to let her know I'm thinking about her and wish her all the best. What do you think?