I am a person who has always placed high value on having many long time friendships, including with a few dear people I have known since I was a child (including one person I have been friends with since the age of 2!). I stay in touch with my old friends and consider them as much a part of my family as people to whom I am related by blood. In the past few years, as my friends and I have joined the ranks of the “not young,” I have lost several friends due to their death. Some of them have suffered from long term illnesses, while others have passed away suddenly, without warning. In addition, due to incidents of “friendly fire” (as described in a previous post), I have chosen, either on my own or through mutual agreement, to discontinue a long term friendship. In one of these situations, I grieved for the loss of my childhood friend for over a year, in much the same way as someone would grieve for a spouse lost through death or divorce. I have consistently avoided all situations where I might encounter this person, which is challenging because we share many friends in common. With every friend I have lost, I have realized the difficulty in replacing the void in my life left by this person’s absence. Friends, like money, do not grow on trees and when we lose a friend, we can’t make up for it by making a new friend, or ten new friends, for that matter. Treasure your old friends while you have them.
Things change. That much we all know. Some of these changes are for the better, some for the worse. Melissa has much more history of long term friends than I and, as a result, I can attest to the pain one suffers through the loss of a friend. There is something about the depth of the connections of “old,” or, to use the term I prefer, “long time” friends that can never be replaced by new friends, no matter how strong the new relations may be. It is for this reason that friendships require work and should also never be taken for granted. We never know how long the relationships will last; they must be enjoyed to the fullest.