You could have knocked me over with a feather. An old friend, who I was sure I’d never see again, wandered through my door last week to apologize. A couple of years ago we had a misunderstanding; he said some things that came out rather harshly and in the same breath made it clear that our friendship was over. Fin. There would be no more contact. Period. I didn’t fully understand, but I tried to see it from his perspective since he honestly didn’t give me much choice. So, I respected his wishes and somewhat wistfully let our friendship go. And I’ve thought of him from time to time and wondered what really happened there, but knowing I would probably never get any sort of real closure, I pushed it from my mind. I told myself that everyone’s situations are unique, and that people say and do things they need to do for themselves, for whatever reason, even if sometimes those reasons don’t make much sense to other people. Everyone is different. And at the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can.
I’ve had several friends (some closer than others) disappear over the years, and as a bleeding heart who puts a lot of stock in personal relationships, I’ve struggled with those friendships ending– really struggled at times, honestly. With two girl friends in particular, the loss of each of them was painful enough, but the lack of any sort of explanation served as the bitter aftertaste left behind. I have tried intermittently over the years to reach out and let them know our friendship was important to me, and that I wish I knew what happened… and each time I’ve been met with silence, or worse, the words no one wants to hear: “My life is better without you.” Ouch. What do you do with that? Absorb it. Carry it with you for awhile. Roll it around in your heart and attempt to make sense of it. But eventually you have to decide to let go because clinging to situations we don’t understand–particularly ones that hurt us–eventually holds us back. At a point, we have to let go of how we thought things should be and live with how things are instead.
Hard truth: sometimes the apology never comes. We don’t always enjoy the luxury of understanding why things happen the way they do, and we don’t always get a well-deserved explanation or the closure we needed. Sometimes things just don’t happen that way. But sometimes, when you least expect it, they do.
And two years later, my friend apologized. And I really appreciate that he did. Things make a lot more sense now.
It’s never too late. You never know how much your words or actions might have affected someone unless you ask them. Is there anyone you need to set the record straight with? Is anyone out there wondering what happened to you? Go ahead and reach out. It may not change anything– or it might change everything.