Day Twenty Nine: An Open Letter to My Friends

Giving everyone a fist-bump.

To My Dear and Loving Friends,

Thank you for all your sympathy cards, fruit baskets, books, aromatherapeutic candles, bubble bath, healing crystals, chocolates, cheese baskets, and meals in the form of gift certificates. (Oh, especially that last one!)

I am overwhelmed by it all. It makes me a little uneasy because I really hate to be the center of attention, good or bad, and because all I want to do is hide under a rock. But I do appreciate all that you've done for me.

I wanted to address some sentiments that have been expressed in your notes and, in some cases, our conversations, though these things maybe have been more implied rather than explicitly conveyed.

Feeling like a bad friend.
Okay, get over it! If you're my friend--and I mean truly my friend--then we're good. We all have lives that include our own families and careers ( or, in my case, quasi-career or "career"). Over the years, you have provided me with happy memories that I can return to when things get rough. And if I'm inclined to pick up the phone or send an email, you are always there for some witty if not entirely pithy banter, and we're back to where we left off despite how long it's been. I won't name names, but you can stop it now. Stop the self-induced guilt trip, for goodness sake.

Relating your own experience with losing a loved one and giving your advice on how to move on.
I think that I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: I am utterly moved to tears when I read how you have lost a loved one, too. It makes me feel like you are embracing me with your words. It's that strong, this sharing of our loss, the acknowledgement of my pain that you know too well. It's the gracious part of grieving, the acceptance of others into a group whose members came together unwillingly. To say that you welcomed me with open arms is an understatement.  

Having your own familial guilt. 
Most of us are around the same age, so there's a sense of "wow, that could be me experiencing the lost of my own parent." I hope that it makes you spend more time with your mom or dad, that you see how your time with them is a finite thing. And that whatever grudges and issues you may have with each other, you can put it aside.

Getting together sooner than later.
I'll try. And that's the best answer I can give you. I've been slowly sending myself back into the social stratosphere, and I've had some mixed results. I think that having an alcoholic beverage takes the edge off, but I'm beginning to think that this may become a problem soon. And reviewing some of my blog entries, I've noticed that I sure do talk a lot about drinking. I'm a little afraid that my next social outing may be my own intervention. So now I'm paranoid on top of being uber-aware of my anger and sadness.
So do you still want to get together soon?

Let me just end this with a heart-felt thank you. I am deeply honored and incredibly touched by your efforts to comfort me during this tough time in my life. And I hope that I am always deserving of your friendship.

Love always,