Natalie Romero: Putting it Out There


The Hardest Breakup of All: The Friendship Breakup

Sometimes the loss of a friend leaves the deepest hole

She introduced me to horror movies and Pogo's with mustard.

We rode bikes, played in treehouses, and giggled our way through sleepovers. Our Barbies lived complex lives and we even shared a Ken doll. We were very different people but somehow we just clicked.

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As we traded in dolls for Walkmans, and jelly shoes for high heels, our friendship evolved, sometimes taking us down different paths yet those paths always seemed to wind their way back to each other and it was as if we had never parted.

Until, one day, our paths stopped crossing.

It was a baby that blocked our path. I had the baby. She didn’t.

It was even more complicated, I had a sick baby. A sick baby can scare people into disappearing, avoiding what makes them uncomfortable. It was too much for me to deal with; the aftershock of my sick baby and to face the pain of my friend’s absence during my crisis, so it blew up. She, the one without a child, didn’t understand what I was going through. Me, the one with a child, didn’t understand how she couldn’t. A wall went up that was just too hard to climb.

It’s inevitable, to lose friends. We’ve all been through it haven’t we? It might be a disagreement that pulls you apart. Or maybe you just grow in different directions. One of you goes away to University, one of you gets married, one of you has a baby. You may not even be able to pinpoint the exact moment but somewhere you just stop understanding each other.

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Perhaps it happens slowly, gradually over months or even years. You pretend that everything is normal, even though you find you have less to say to each other with each passing moment until one day your only contact is the occasional awkward run in at the grocery store.

Some friendships need to end. The friends that are very good at taking but not as good at giving. The friends who aren’t very supportive. Those who don’t rejoice in your success because they feel better when you are down. Those who only want to be there when it's easy. Sometimes those friendships are the hardest to walk away from.

Still, when a friendship ends it's a loss and it can leave a very deep and real void in your life. You become a sideline spectator to her life, viewing it through what she chooses to post on Facebook or Instagram. You smile when you see the photo of her first child or when you learn she finally followed her heart and is succeeding in her career. Social media allows you to feel as though you are oddly still a part of her life if even from afar.

I have gone through break ups; puppy love that fizzled out quietly, bad boys that broke my heart over and over again until it felt like there was nothing left to break. Break ups that knocked the wind out of me and left me broken, picking up the pieces of the life I had imagined. Each ending leaving me with new lessons to take forward in life. Yet, nothing has left me feeling as empty as the loss of my friend. We saw each other through most of our endings. We heard each other’s tears, and hated each other’s enemies. This time I couldn’t pick up the phone and call her. Like a phantom limb, it felt like she was there but each time I reached out for her I was shocked into the reality that she wasn’t.

I have walked away from boyfriends without so much as a glance backwards, knowing in my heart that they weren't right for me. Walking away from friendships hasn't been that easy. Time heals all wounds and in the years that have passed wounds have been healed. I mourn the friendships lost however I also revel in the memories they left behind. I take with me the lessons I have learned. New friends have filled the empty spaces. New memories are being made but the old memories are not forgotten.

There are certain special friends, who though no longer a part of my life, will always remain a part of my heart. To those I say thank you for the part you played in my story and I wish you nothing but the best in your journey.