Loss and Acceptance

November 6, 2007
Looking Back
Maybe I could have predicted this kind of downfall. I almost wish I could have swallowed the truth a few months ago. Perhaps it would have made the first weeks of my summer more enjoyable, but probably not. I think losing a best friend is difficult any way someone looks at it. How a person deals with that loss is what matters most. It can make or break someone depending on how he/she faces that tragedy. It’s all a matter of perspective. What follows loss (the aftermath) arrives in stages: denial, anger, guilt, depression, and finally, acceptance. I experienced the four phases before reaching the point that I currently reside in.

It seemed easy enough to pretend things were okay between us for months. It felt better to avoid our situation rather than to face that difficult truth. The cold facts were that distance and detachment were surrounding and devouring our friendship whole. I barely saw her in school, which made our problems seem trivial. We had our seldom run-ins and hellos here and there; we’d simply smile and make small talk. Those were poor attempts to keep us believing that our friendship had not changed. I went through days and weeks acting as if nothing appeared different. I hoped and prayed that the familiar rituals of everyday life would postpone the inevitable. I began creating reasons why I rarely saw my so-called “best friend.” Fabricating one excuse after another, I was just too weak too admit the truth. Pretending became better than believing because the truth hurt.

No doubt, I was bitter. But in between bitterness and hatred, I found myself in a state of deep anger. I acted extremely out of character and found myself behaving entirely different. I took out my grief on the people that truly mattered. I pushed away the only group that supported me. I had family and friends trying to help alleviate the pain, but all I felt left with was frustration and unsettled thoughts. I wanted to scream, yell, and explode on anyone who attempted to cheer me up. I wanted to stay angry and it was only until I reached the final stage, when I realized the only person I was truly mad at was myself.

I mistakenly let myself slip into the past, when our friendship was solid, and ask myself endless, unanswerable questions. How did we get to this point of failure? What could I have done differently to prevent this from happening? I just wished I could have expressed and explained to her how much I cared about our friendship. Her last words stung, lingering around in my mind, and I could not help but question if I carelessly destroyed other lost friendships, as well. She had called me the most “selfish friend” she had ever met, and those words cut like a knife. I sat in my room letting regret consume my thoughts. I pondered ways I could have saved our friendship. But the only conclusion my torn apart mind came to was, “It’s all your fault.”

This was the hardest stage to face, only because I felt I had to face it alone. During this time, I slowly began isolating myself from my friends and family. I found it hard to be social and even had trouble having a conversation without letting sadness seep into the picture. Ignoring the people that mattered most to me only intensified the suffering. Alone, I lost motivation and determination to do the things I once enjoyed. I began sulking and looking for reasons to stay somber. Staying home, I found comfort and distraction in strange ways. I started cleaning and reorganizing rooms in my house, from the laundry room, to the bathrooms and bedrooms. All I wanted to do was clean, but in reality, I just wanted to forget about how hurt I was feeling. A spark inside of me went out and my body tried finding ways to compensate for that loss; cleaning was one of those odd compensations. My best friend gave up on me and left me feeling lost in a place of darkness. Eventually, I accepted the love and support I previously rejected and the spark inside of me returned.

Accepting loss does not make one a failure or any less of a person; on the contrary, denial does. Though life served me a handful of heartache and loss, I received a side of maturity and control. I stopped blaming myself for our downfall. I let go of thoughts revolving around “what could have been,” and faced what was in front of me. I acknowledged the people around me and recognized how much they cared. I finally understood it was not about loss; it was about acceptance. I finally faced the truth. We grew apart within time, and the ties that had previously kept us connected became loose ends. It took months before performing the greatest selfless act, but eventually, I cut our loose ends and gave my former best friend what she wanted. I put her wants and needs before my own without even knowing it; I committed the most important altruistic act for her, just by letting go. However, letting go and forgetting are not the same thing, not even close. For a majority of my summer, I was searching for answers, never finding the right ones, though. The truth of the matter is, there are none. It’s just life. One must accept and embrace what he/she has and learn not to dwell on what is lost.

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