the unexpected companion

(collage art by me! be the first to know about my new art by clicking here.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about friendship breakups.

Because, well, covid times feel like a huge breakup with the entire world.

One thing I know about my research lately around grief is this:

grief is connective

Meaning, when you grieve one thing, it can open the floodgates to previously incomplete feelings of grief.

(More on how to complete the grief cycle in another post.)

Here we are. We’re the heaviness of loss. We’re grieving lives lost. We’re grieving our life as we knew it lost.

In this mix of feeling grief because of covid times, I’ve been feeling sorrow around a friendship break up a few years ago.

Sometimes, friendships end in this natural type progression. As in, one moves away or maybe you lose touch.

Today, I’m not talking about those friendship endings, though those can be sad, too.

I’m talking about friendships that end because of a variety of reasons but are abrupt or confusing: like being ghosted or hurt caused by a succession of moments that needed a big boundary around it.

This friendship loss is like romantic loss. You’ll never replace the person who was your companion, nor will you return to a time before you felt pain from the relationship.

Yet, this loss is deeply unlike romantic loss.

How? Well, it’s culturally unrecognized as a grief worthy of grieving.

As a whole, not many people acknowledge that breaking up with a friend can cause a tremendous amount of sorrow.

Let me put it on the record: this pain is real, the grief is deep, and you’re not alone if you’ve felt it.

As I’ve felt this grief, I’ve dealt with it in 4 ways.

  1. One way I’ve gotten through it is by realizing what I’ve got by adoring my relationships that are healthy, sustainable, and full of expansion.

2. The other is expressing gratitude to my ancestors, who I’ve recently researched extensively, who I know have also dealt with so much loss.

3. Naming the feeling has been really important – doing this out loud has helped me to see it for what it is.

4. And lastly, and probably the most surprising way, is by becoming my own friend. Though that sounds cliche, but it’s some of the grittiest and grimmiest work I’ve ever done.

I’ve become my unexpected companion during this time of tremendous loss.

It took a pandemic and all it’s sorrows for me to get to know myself even better. And dang it, I’m so grateful I have.

Thanks for reading, beloved. Tell me in the comments below: how are you processing the grief of this sorrowful time?

Check out my document your days project for inspiration on one way to deal with grief during covid.

the unexpected companion

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2 thoughts on “the unexpected companion

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve only had one truly devastating friend break up in my life, and in April, I found out that she passed away from complications due to COVID. So, I’ve had both forms of grief: that I lost my friend due to the break up several years ago and that the world lost her too, and with her, any chance of us reconciling. Guilt complicated my grief—I initiated the break up (because my friend violated boundaries and created chaos I chose not to tolerate any longer). Your writing here has given me solace, by reminding me that it’s okay for me to make room in my grief for both. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Shelby I’m so sorry to hear this, and my heart is with you as you grieve. It’s a lot to carry, that heaviness. You’re not alone and I’m really glad this brought you comfort today.

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