Letter to my Friend

To my friend,

I am writing you because we haven’t spoken in years.  Too many years for me to count.  I don’t even remember why we quit speaking to each other, or caring about each other.  I was angry and I know you were angry and… that was that.  We stopped.  Just stopped caring.

I think I personally didn’t understand your life.  I didn’t understand your perspective and as hard as I tried, I didn’t understand some of your actions and your anger.  Your bitter resentment that clouded your entire life.  It came out in everything.  Your bitterness came up in every conversation, it dripped off of almost everything you did and everything you touched.  Your affliction was a broken-hearted bitterness.  A bitterness that I now know is born out of fear, violence and broken promises from a man that was supposed to love you and your child forever.  A bitterness that is fed by feelings of regret and shame.  A bitterness that becomes permanent after it digs its roots deep into you.

I didn’t understand that when I knew you.  I couldn’t figure out how someone could be so bitter and not let it go.  To not practice forgiveness.  I called you a victim-blamer.  And for that, I am sorry.

I have spent much of my life being overly empathetic, but at the same time I haven’t understood the concept that there is only so much empathy I can offer when I don’t know the person’s life.  We don’t know what we don’t know. And my friend, I knew nothing about your struggles all those years ago.  You told me your story and I understood it only as I knew how – in letters that make words, and words that make sentences. But those sentences are stories, and the stories are pieces of you.  Things that only you lived through and carried with you.  And things that only you survived.

Now I am standing in the midst of my own storm and I finally see you for everything you are and have become.  And you are beautiful. 

And I wish I had you by my side now, as my friend. 

This letter is to tell you that I am sorry.  I feel my own bitter anger that has taken a hold of me.  It is seeping into every corner of my body.  It has silently settled in my heart and my lungs and I breathe it every day.

I am trying to be enough for myself and understand that sometimes promises are broken and hearts are brutally beaten, both by words and actions.  And our only option in this world is to keep moving, keep praying, keep waking up in the morning, and keep supporting and loving our children.  To keep doing the laundry, budgeting like crazy, feeding our child, pleasing the world, and not allowing ourselves to stop and mourn what has been stolen from us.

You are beautiful and smart and you are strong.  And you have raised a beautiful and intelligent daughter.  And you should be very proud of that.  Not fake “oh why thank you” proud.  You should be “damn straight I did” proud. 

But I challenge you to try one thing for yourself.  Find your blessings.  You had blessings throughout it all.  Find those.  And don’t let them be intoxicated by the bitter.  Find your sunshine and your blessings.  You have them.  Just look at your daughter.  Look in the mirror. 

I wish you the best, my dear friend.  I will keep you in my prayers always.

Love,

An old friend