Ever had someone you've cared for a great deal suddenly and inexplicably cease contact with you? What strategies helped you deal with your loss?
I didn't get far writing personal notes on our family holiday picture this year before stopping at the name of one old friend, someone I've known since 1977. I couldn't say for sure when the two of us last had contact but I am certain it is I who has reached out numerous times over the last several years, never receiving a single word in response. It didn't feel right to surrender this important friendship without humbling myself one final time to ask if I'd unknowingly done or said something offensive or hurtful the last time we were together. And if that was the case, how could I make it right?
After mailing the picture with my note, I temporarily put it out of mind. Then, later describing my friend's mystifying behavior to my daughter, she told me of a similar experience of hers from college. Instead of appreciating my daughter's desire to ease my pain by sharing her own story with me, I initially reacted by saying a 25+ year friendship and a college friendship were not - in my mind - on equal footing. But my daughter - perhaps the most emotionally intelligent person I know - stayed on point and then went on to make a few plausible conjectures about why someone with whom you once shared an intense bond might suddenly leave a silent hole in your life.
That conversation did not erase my loss. But it did help me heal a bit. More significantly, my increased respect for my daughter ensures I'll remember her as a nearby resource when next I'm in need of a strategy.