I was so invested in our permanence that I chose to ignore signs that, in any other friendship, would send me running. For years I made excuses: she's going through a rough patch; despite [fill in the blank], she really does have a big heart; as soon as she [fill in the blank], she'll start acting normal. When I brought up these issues, I'd be either dismissed or assured that everything was under control. She told me she hated emotions. We argued; I thought we made up, but wasn't sure. She talked a lot, but said nothing.
And then she got sick, and I was worried and offered to help, and she stopped talking to me. I understand the trauma of illness; I waited, and waited some more. I reached out. I learned from a mutual friend that she had instructed everyone not to tell me if she was dead or alive. I felt like I had been stabbed, and was on the way to being dead. I reached out again and again, gently, then forcefully. No response. I'd been unfriended, on Facebook and everywhere else, as if our past had simply ceased to exist.
I wallowed in anger, hurt, guilt, and grief for quite some time, but slowly came to understand the extent of her damage, and I that I'd known about it for quite some time. I just didn't want to see it. Even more slowly, I inched toward forgiveness. I'm not there yet, but every Elul brings me closer. I really want to remember how much I once loved her, and be able to recall those times with joy. Besides, the other, less pleasant emotions just take up too much energy, and I know that carrying their weight is a choice. I want to be able to take the other road, toward love and compassion.
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