I read a post this morning, something I think Rabbi Kushner had written, that spoke about how (during your darkest hours) you lose some friends because they care so much about you and it hurts them to see you hurt and you lose some others because your loss reminds them of their vulnerability. I totally understand that. Maybe I've even been that person.
One thing I somehow hadn't foreseen happening was that I might end up costing myself friendships because what they have hurts me. I know that's just a nice way of saying I'm jealous and maybe even resentful, and those things are not pretty or nice, but then losing a part of yourself is never pretty or nice. I withdrew from most people, as it was, and the few I let back in have been mostly on my terms. I don't know, maybe subconsciously I felt like it was something I could actually control, in a world that has spun crazy out of control.
That post really made me face what I've been doing: keeping my friends who have kids (especially sons) at arm's length..or further. I don't have many friends who've lost kids, at least not close friends, but of those who have, few have lost their teenage son. Of course, even if they have, they didn't lose their son named Brandon, their only son. No matter what, I can make what is already horrifically isolating even more isolating. While I am so thankful that most of my friends haven't walked this road, it feels so unfair that I am in excruciating, agonizing pain every day, while their lives get to just go happily by. It is so hard. Of course, I don't begrudge my friends their happiness and I am happy for them that they are in the season of life they are in, but time stopped for me five months ago and I just don't know how to participate in lives where the clock hasn't stopped. Brandon was so much like me that it is, literally, as though part of me died with him, so I have no idea when the clock will start ticking, again.
Early on, a stranger wrote to me through facebook how she'd lost her son, Brandon K., at almost the exact age my BK died...19 years and two months. That person I could relate to. I felt a special bond to a complete stranger, while fighting the impulse to cut out every close friend I'd already had. It's an odd thing, this continuous pain. I want the hurting to stop. I need my friends and their words of comfort, sometimes their silent comfort, but it is an immense struggle. So, please don't take it personally, it's not meant that way. I adore my friends, but I just don't know what to do with you all right now, when reaching out to you makes me recoil in pain. Thank you for not expecting more than I have to give. I promise you that I am trying to reconcile these feelings and remain your friend, but it is a slow, slow process. I still pray for you all, I read your posts and look at your pictures, even when they make me cry. I know it is not something you are doing intentionally and I will work harder at being intentional with my friendships, if you can give me some time to figure it all out. Right now I just do not know who I am. I know who I am not, I am not the same person I was before May 18th. I hope that means that, someday, I'll be a better person, a better friend, I just do not know when that will be, as there are no maps for this sort of thing.