When I realized that I won't get my old friends back.
In middle school, I was one of those kids who was slightly friends with everyone. I had around 30 good friends, and I talked to most of them weekly. It made me happy to have so many people around me.
When I started high school, though, all of that fell apart. The people I had once considered my closest friends became strangers that I only texted on holidays, if that. While I’ve casually talked to a few of them since and kept a bit of hope that, somehow, our friendships would come back and be what they used to, there have also been some that I’ve had almost no contact with. Including Anna.*
Anna and I were good friends in middle school. We shared a few classes, occasionally had deep conversations, and I enjoyed benign around her a lot. Near the end of middle school, however, she transferred, so I mostly lost contact with her.
Then, a few weeks ago, her Instagram account popped up in my suggested. I clicked follow, and then I messaged her.
“HI IT’S NATALIE, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER ME. I MISS YOU AND I HOPE YOU’RE DOING OKAY OR IF YOU AREN’T THAT YOU’RE GETTING SUPPORT and I don’t know why I wrote that in all caps.”
She replied. Said she missed me too. We talked for a few minutes, and then she asked me how my life had been.
I knew exactly what I wanted to say.
“Actually, things have been really difficult. I never told you this, but around the time you left my dad was sick. I didn’t realize how sick he was, though, so I didn’t really tell anyone. Then I started high school and he died and everything sort of fell apart.”
It’s the same response that I wanted to give to everyone who asked how my life was. Except, there was always something stopping me from saying it. It’s so much easier to hide your grief than it is to vocalize it. I usually just ended up telling people that I was “okay” or “tired,” which is sort of code for “everything sucks,” though no one ever realized that.
This time, though, I asked her if she wanted to hear the full story, and when she said yes I clicked SEND. At that moment I felt like I needed to tell her. It wasn’t that I wanted her to feel bad for me or pity me. It was sort of my way of saying, “Everything is different, including me. I miss you, but we’re not the same anymore.” While I wrote it, I realized what I had been unable to realize with my other middle school friends that I had tried to rekindle friendships with in the past. That it wasn’t going to happen.
Anna and I occasionally talk and I still care about her, but we’ll most likely never be the friends that we were before. It sucks, but it’s okay. Some friendships just aren't meant to last, and I’ve started to realize that.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.
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Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Follow her on Twitter @NatalieLAdams.