Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Before you get the wrong idea.  I am not talking about me and The Husband.  I'm talking about another kind of break up - just as painful as breaking up with a spouse or partner.  

I'm talking about breaking up with your best friend.

Remember the other day when I said going back and forth to the Kennedy Center was bringing back all these old feelings?

I've been thinking about the difference between 4 years ago and now.

The week The Boy was diagnosed with autism, The Husband and I had a baby shower to attend.  Not just any one's baby shower.  My best friend's baby shower.  Had it been anyone else I would have cancelled.  

So that Sunday, as I watched my best friend and her husband open up their baby shower gifts, I smiled and clapped and oohed and aahed along with everyone else.  

Was I happy for her?  Of course I was.  Was I in pain?  Absolutely.  

It reminded me of my own baby shower.  And how happy and hopeful I was.  And after the diagnosis, all that happiness and hope just crumbled on the day the doctor said, "Your son has autism and global developmental delay."

And I had so many questions.  Doubts.  Fears.  And there wasn't a single person in my circle of friends or family who understood all the things I was feeling.

The months prior to The Boy's diagnosis, I was juggling full time work, full time school, applying to graduate school and having The Boy evaluated.  It wasn't easy.  

The day my best friend gave birth, we had just started ABA home therapy 2 weeks prior. 15 hours.  5 days a week from 4 - 7 pm.  Some days the therapist didn't leave until after 8 pm.  In those first few weeks, I would sit in the room to observe, ask questions and sometimes walk out of the room when The Boy's crying got to be too much for me to take.

The therapist suggested we repaint The Boy's room to a more soothing color.  The Husband and I had planned to paint that very weekend.  It just so happened, my best friend went into labor the day before we were to start painting.  

I wasn't going to go the hospital.  I wanted to paint.  Back then I think I believed, if I painted the room the right color, if I did everything the doctors and therapists told me to do, The Boy could be "fixed."

It was my mother who said, the painting could wait.  And so, I went.

I spent the remainder of that summer, living and breathing ABA, OT, PT & Speech.  I spent my free time reading autism books and doing research.  I didn't call anyone and I didn't go anywhere other than work.  Thank goodness for Facebook - it was the only social interaction I had.    

Fast forward a few months later, maybe close to a year - the time frame is murky.

I get an email from my best friend, a 3 page letter.  

In the letter she pretty much told me what a horrible friend I had been.  How unsupportive I was during the months of her pregnancy and after she gave birth.  How I never called or made time for her.  How I didn't love her baby the way she loved mine.  In the letter she wrote how she did so much for me during my pregnancy.  How she rushed to the hospital the night I was induced.  How she worked so hard to plan my baby shower.  And how I failed to help make her shower favors.  How I failed to show up until the day after she gave birth.  How The Boy wasn't going to die from autism and neither was I.

A few emails went back and forth until I called her.  We cried.  We made up.  But our bond had been broken.  Too much had been said.  And even though I forgave.  I could not forget.  I found myself walking on eggshells whenever we spoke.  Our conversations were careful, cordial - neither one of us wanting to upset the other.  

For months I carried that letter with me.  And even after I threw it away.  I saved it in my yahoo inbox.  And I'd return to it.  Rereading it.  Dissecting every single sentence.  Reflecting on every single moment, she had mentioned in the letter.  Wondering if I was really that horrible of a person.  Wondering how long she had those feelings about me.  Wondering how I could salvage a 15+ year friendship.  Wondering why anyone would want to be friends with me at all.  I don't think anyone or anything has made me feel like I was the worst human being in the world.

And eventually, our friendship dissolved.  This Christmas came and went - no cards were exchanged.  Not even a Merry Christmas text.  

Do I miss her?  Of course.  Can we be friends the way were?  No.  It's taken a while for me to realize that I'm not a bad person.  She's not a bad person.  (I still think she's a really good person, amazing mother and a fabulous teacher - so please don't say anything against her here.) We're just not good together.  Just like some romantic relationships need to end, sometimes friendships need to end too.    

Not having her in my life hasn't been easy.  My mother asks for her.  My Madrina (godmother) asks for her.  The other night, a mutual friend asked if I heard from her.  But aside from people asking me about her.  I still think about her.  There are days, when I want to pick up the phone and call her.  And then I remember that letter.  And I put the phone down.  

And on those days, I go to her FB page - because that's the extent of our friendship - and look at pictures of her with her family.  But I don't comment.  I just like to look and see how big and beautiful her son is.  And for a few fleeting moments, I wonder if her son and mine could have been better friends to each other than the way we were.  

Whew...that was tough.  It's definitely one of those posts where I wish this blog was totally anonymous.  But I guess that's the whole point of "Pour Your Heart Out" with Shel.             

1 comment:

  1. I understand. I haven't lost any friends, but I don't feel as clOse to them. I see them posting about cute things their kids said or places they all went. "Timmy was so good at the zoo, restaurant, theater today...". I try to be happy for them without being sad for me and mine.


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.