Dragging the Lake

My Mama Moved Among the Days

My Mama moved among the days
like a dreamwalker in a field;
seemed like what she touched was here
seemed like what touched her couldn’t hold,
she got us almost through the high grass
then seemed like she turned around and ran
right back in
right back on in

                                              — Lucille Clifton

__________

 All the house cleaning and rearranging I did yesterday made me feel marvelously productive … but also a little sad.  Going through so much of my stuff, I kept finding things that reminded me of people with whom I used to be friends but who are no longer my friends — a book one gave me, a photograph of another …

I don’t like losing friends.  Ok, who does?  I know, but it needs saying.  The two women who were brought back to my mind again and again yesterday are women I thought would be in my life for the rest of my life.  They shared so much of who I was and who I’ve become.  It’s still hard for me to believe they aren’t in my life now.

Harder still is knowing that the thing that broke us up was my attempt to get pregnant.  If there were two people who I’d have thought would have understood the stress and disorientation and pain of that experience, it would have been those two friends, both of whom struggled with their own fertility, one that had gone through even more fertility treatments than I had before conceiving her first daughter, and then several more rounds before conceiving her second.

I’m not saying I don’t own any of the responsibility for the dissolution of our relationships.  What I am saying is that I would have thought either of them would have fought harder for our friendships, that neither would have been so quick to write me off when I was at my absolute lowest, that the ugly drama of my life at that time would have had some meaning and reality for them and wouldn’t have been something I would have been expected to downplay or set aside.

And here I am, years after the fact, sorting through my belongings, dredging up that years’-old hurt, unable to downplay or set aside either of them.

Friendships lost
hover in my memory, hold space
in my thoughts, their lives embossed
on my heart.  Each face
another story, each a moment of grace
I took so long to know
each one, so long now to let them go.

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6 thoughts on “Dragging the Lake

  1. I know you’ve heard the popular wisdom about some people being in your life for a reason or just for a season. Perhaps the reason (and season) for their purpose in your life had passed, but because you were at such a low point then you couldn’t see it.

    It sounds like a part of you is still trying to rake that last leaf, when every one else had begun shoveling snow. That same part hasn’t quite forgiven them “I would have thought either of them would have fought harder for our friendships…” Thus, this is why the pain and the loss of these former friends can’t quite be forgotten either. “in my thoughts, their lives embossed”.

    It is true the longer you hold on to something, the harder it is to let it go. “I took so long to know // each one, so long now to let them go.” But, it also sounds like you are finally putting down that rake. Who knows? Perhaps the next time you come across these items, you’ll be at a point where they will do no more than cause a mere shrug at what once was between the three of you.

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    1. I have heard that, but hadn’t thought of it in terms of these two women. It just wouldn’t have occurred to me that there could ever be an end to their purpose in my life. I definitely haven’t forgiven them, and maybe that’s something I need to look at. I am capable of forgiveness, but it’s often something I have to work on, doesn’t just come of its own. I also think the pain of losing those friends is tied so tightly to the pain of my miscarriages and the failure of my attempt to have a child. Maybe if/when I finally put that behind me for real and true, I’ll be able to get past the loss of those friends. Thanks for your thoughtful response to this post.

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  2. I know how much it hurts to lose friends. There were two times in my life when I felt utterly betrayed by a friend I believed to be close, and where the friendship dissolved. (It was two separate friends, two separate times.) I had “romantic” relationships end where the breakups were less painful, and faster to get over. I’m still bitter and sad about the loss of those friendships. Your poem really resonates with me.

    I’m actually “facebook friends” with one of those ex-friends, and the casualness of that situation has helped me to put the hurt behind.

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    1. I had “romantic” relationships end where the breakups were less painful, and faster to get over.

      Yes, exactly. I wonder if I’ll ever be FB friends with either of these women. At this moment it seems doubtful, but who knows!

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  3. Molly

    I do not let go. I would not add “very easily” to that. I just don’t. I don’t call people, and I don’t see people for years, in situations not as bad as the one you have described. When people talk about letting go (for example of dead people), they sound as if they’re from another planet from mine. I “dwell” less than I used to, and I do go on. I have dumped people, and left them behind, not always in a pretty way. But the feelings I have had, are still there. That is about the sum of my belief in eternity.
    It sounds as if there are good reasons for you to be hurt, still.

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    1. I guess I’m definitely not a good ‘let go-er’ … at least not in cases like these. And, although I think I have good reasons to be hurt, I also think that holding onto the hurt is hurting me. So I need to find a way to move on. I’m not sitting around dwelling on the loss of those friends, but I really haven’t put the loss behind me, and I think it’s time to start.

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