Friday, May 1, 2015

To My Friend Jane, With My Apologies

atheist blog
In college I made friends with a young woman that I will call Jane. She was a perky, smiley person and her personality attracted me immediately. She had such confidence and this sparkle in her eye. We laughed constantly! We were very close in those days.

As the years moved forward life happened, stuff happened, crap happened. Both Jane and I had our life challenges. She was quite lonely for so long, sad and lonely, that is, and I was surprised and thrilled when she reconnected with an old friend and married him quite quickly. 
From my end I was thrilled for her. 

Those lonely years for her had been dreadful and painful and I watched her become more and more cynical, more and more angry, more and more bitter, really, more and more depressed. She was angry and hateful at times and I didn't understand that. I admit that there were many months when her negativity was so heavy and relentless that it overwhelmed me; I felt powerless to help her. I was going through my own difficulties and I chose to place distance between us at times.
Now all I can think of is how heavy and relentless that depression must have felt for her, rather than for me. 

Along came that brightening summer when Les (as I will call him) reentered her life. For the most part she was buoyed and renewed. Things were looking up for Jane but I don't think the depression really went away. She couldn't seem to enjoy herself. It seemed to me at the time that she wouldn't allow herself to see the good in life. She had a glass-is-half-empty way of looking at things. She would say: Life is always crap and it always disappoints you.

About this time my husband and I were planning our own wedding. We were blissfully looking forward and we felt that our relationship was a special one. We were tremendously optimistic.

Jane got pregnant about a year after she and Les married and they were quite happily anticipating their child...when the unthinkable happened. Les had a sudden heart attack and died, leaving a pregnant Jane on her own.

Jane's first words to me when Les died:  
See, I told you that life is crap and it always disappoints you.


I'm telling this story here because I failed my friend Jane.
I stuck around for another month or two after Les's death, then I disappeared. I told myself that it was because I didn't want to deal with her depression anymore. Inside I knew that a part of me was superstitiously fearing that I could experience the same loss, that maybe her loss could rub off on me. Whatever the reason, I disappeared from her life when she really needed her friends.

I often think about her and will, on occasion, look for her online. I don't know how to reach her. But, honestly, I feel that I don't really deserve to find her. 

It's one of my deepest regrets and one of my deepest shames.

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