I was scrolling through my Facebook feed trying to avoid schoolwork at one in the morning. I often do this to torture myself because I’m essentially alone, but not really because I can’t actually do anything that involves noise. No sewing, no kitchen experiments… Generally nights like this really only end in several games of League of Legends which is followed by an intense headache, a sense of failure, and foreseen doom when I realize I have but hours to sleep.
But on this night I came across a very touching article. When Friendship is Lost tells the tale of two friends who brave through motherhood together when it suddenly just dies. There’s no connection any more and before you know it, despite your best efforts, the other party in your relationship is gone.
Unfortunately I can relate all too well. I’ve been meaning to write this story for a while now, but the motivation never ran too deep. Tonight I cried over the loss of my Jill. I think it’s time I let you in on my secret best friend, lost but not forgotten.
My Jill and I met just months before my daughter was born. She lived in the same off-campus dorm that my then-boyfriend lived in and we partied a lot. When my daughter was conceived we clicked because she was a down-to-earth go-with-the-flow kind of lady who supported me through the changes I was going through. She hung out with me while I was huge and bored with the way things were playing out (I was young and reluctant).
When Gaia was born she was my go-to support. Although she wasn’t at that stage in her life, my Jill was a refreshing rest from the struggles of newfound motherhood. As those early years went by she spent a lot of time with us at home. We baked, we watched trash TV, and she helped me figure out a lot of my relationship issues.
When I decided to pursue a career in childbirth, my Jill watched my daughter for me for hours without ever requesting pay. She genuinely enjoyed Gaia’s company and fully promoted my turning over a new leaf. Although some births would keep me away for days, my Jill would not bat an eye at the idea of helping me raise my daughter. She bought her gifts and treated her like a princess. When I would get home they would be living the life I was missing out on.
We were very different, my Jill and I. But we managed to find a common ground between growing up and moving up within the world. When we were both free from the grind of college or work, we would pace the malls and go on shopping sprees or search the best deals at thrift shops to pass the time. When I claimed my Saturdays as a Mom’s Night Out, she would drive us downtown and we would bask in the glory of expensive alcohol and live music.
When my relationship became unfixable, my Jill and I shared a moving truck and moved to the panhandle together. Her fiance and her bought a house and I reunited with Hutch. We continued to hang out and I introduced her to my friends up there. She began teaching at the college I was attending as an adjunct and I finally started work on my Bachelor’s. We had lunch at Olive Garden regularly for nearly a year.
It was there at that Olive Garden that she told me that she was pregnant and moving her wedding up to accommodate her growing belly. I offered to help her plan. I insisted on no pressure for decisions in the wedding party, to which she replied there wouldn’t be one. She spoke to me less and less over the next few months and I showed up early to her wedding because my 4-year-old daughter was the flower girl. When I walked into the room to change I was surrounded by women in champagne colored dresses fawning over the bride-to-be. I had been lied to…
I was not angry that there were eight brides maids when I was told there would be none. I wasn’t even mad that one of them was a woman my Jill had just met not 6 months earlier. I was upset because I was lied to. I was upset that this friend of mine who had been through so much with me felt that she needed to lie. And that she thought it was okay enough for me to just waltz around like nothing had happened.
I’m certain our friendship died before that day, but I couldn’t even make it through the reception without crying. I left a hot mess. I attended her baby shower that winter and we chatted a little. I made her daughter a dream catcher with her name in little beads entwined in the web. I still loved my Jill and I loved her daughter, too.
That’s the last I ever saw of my Jill. I’ve never met her daughter, but we’re still friends on Facebook so I’ve been able to watch their family grow. We both moved back to south Florida and we live mere hours apart. My Jill is very successful as a high school math teacher, her family bought a fancy house, and she’s expecting again in the Spring. I have reached out to her numerous times, but there’s a part of me that’s okay to let her grow from a distance.
It’s hard to leave the past behind, especially when there are so many fond memories. I’ll never know what separated us from each other emotionally, but it’s somewhat reassuring to see her doing well. Friendships grow and change, and sometimes they are lost. But I’m sentimental and no matter how short-lived it is in retrospect, this friendship will never be forgotten.