Sunday, August 7, 2011


I miss my friends.

Strangely, in the earliest of days, I missed so much of myself that wasn't even really gone yet, or maybe that I never really had. Things like my confidence, and my security, and my innocence. And now, I really don't miss any of those things anymore. What right did I have as a thirty-seven year old woman to still have innocence? And my confidence? Nothing but a thin veneer between who I was and who I thought I was, smashed at the first five pounds to get tacked on to my hips. And security, an illusion I should never have mistaken for truth in the first place.

But the things I miss now are people. Lucia Paz. Then the list of friends from childhood on up to and including the ones I have met since Lucy's death who fell away in my lost years after my daughter's death.

Sure, people change. Paths diverge. Friends grow apart. Perhaps we would have grown apart whether Lucia died or not, maybe her death just sped up that process. All I know is that my daughter died, and I lost most of my friends. It is like there is this exotic city of my past lives. Every dude I made out with, every friend who I traded clothes with, every person who made me laugh while we shared a beer, and every one who I ever thought would be there if the shit ever really hit the fan all took up residence in this mysterious city of the past. Daughter death is like the neutron bomb that went off in that city. It looks untouched, and pristine from above, but no one is left. My memory of those people are lovely and beautiful, but our friendships died with my daughter.

That first year after her death, I was too mean. Too angry. Too self-righteous. Too afraid of the phone. Too sad. Too needy. Too selfish. Too integrated in the blog world. Too everything. And one right after the other told me I was too much. I believed them.

Darkness and anger bubbled under my skin. I was a monster. A damaged soul. People say you must be a friend to have a friend, but I was incapable of being a friend. Ironically, the only two people who remained my friends were my ex-boyfriend and my ex-husband. Perhaps it is because they saw me angry, self-righteous, afraid, sad, needy, selfish and jealous before. Ugly Angry Angie, or as my sister calls me Angsty, was the Angie with whom they were already acquainted. It didn't shock or disturb them. Sometimes the words right before someone walked away still haunt me. A friend's parting email was so disturbing, I still think about it and try to do the opposite of what she accused me of. I guess it has become my new ethos: Do opposite of what she thinks of me.

This is the thing. I get it. Who wants to be friends with someone so sad, who is easily hurt, who takes things so personally and so seriously, who finds society at large to be largely unbearable? Even if it is just for a year? I suspect most people couldn't bear the relentlessness of it all. Because sadness was fine. Most people can abide sadness, and justified sadness at that. But what about the hypersensitivity? Or the sarcasm? Or the anger? Or the nasty streak of jealousy? Or the quick temper? Those people walked away from our friendship for self-preservation. I get it. I can't blame them. It was okay to not want to be part of this grief and death and messiness or part of my dark complicated life. I didn't want to be part of it either.

I wish I had known just how long that would last, so I could send a memo around.

To: Friends.
Re: Grief.


I am sorry for being an absolute fucking bitch. I forgot your birthday, didn't ask about your son/daughter's party/first day of school/recent head cold/psychological examination, or your mother/father's illness. It was wrong of me. Grief has invaded my body. I am incapable of even the most benign of human activities and the most base of all human compassion. I will emerge in precisely eighteen months, three weeks and two days and be able to call/hang out/attend your baby shower/have a drink/be a friend. Just hang in there.


I am not that person anymore. And I don't know how to bridge that gap between then and now. I don't know how to deal with the wreckage of the first year after my daughter died. I just don't. I remember getting a letter six months after Lucy died. It was a letter of condolence and apology from someone I knew for fifteen years. Apology for the lateness of condolences. It was honest and beautiful and made me cry. It was comforting to receive the letter, and yet I had no idea what to do after I read it. I still have never really talked to that person again. Not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't know how to reach out afterward. Was that my duty or his? I can see now it was probably mine.

Grief is insidious for those confusions. I sat paralyzed by uncertainty and confusion of protocol, knowing what you would and should do with all things being equal. But nothing is equal. My kid died, so I just sat and waited for someone stronger than me to help figure out what I was supposed to do. And no one did. Grief and death and fear of everything made it abundantly clear that I knew nothing about living. That my entire theological and emotional basis was contingent of everything working out in my favor.

I have no resolution to this post. Just missing, so much missing.


  1. you took the words right out of my heart.

  2. beautiful and thought provoking. thank-you.

  3. could I please share this on my facebook, Angie?

  4. I guess I can understand why people have trouble being friends with someone who is grieving. But it makes me think that they are weak and selfish people. Because what you said is right, you do have to be a friend to have a friend, but a real friend understands that it isn't always equal and sometimes one person's need is bigger than the other. And a baby death is a big need. It's probably my weakness, but I am not capable of forgiving people when they abandon a babyloss mama.

  5. I moved away from most friends and family 4 months before my son died. I have one friend close to me, and she's been amazing. I've had friends reach out online and a couple be there whenver I need to talk on the phone. But, I went back home in May and hung out with friends I've known since middle school and one from college. Not one of them mentioned my son. Most hurtful thing ever. I just want people to talk about my kids, ALL my kids, just like I do theirs. I miss TRUE friends.

  6. You have this incredible ability to take exactly what is weighing heavily on my heart and turn it into the most beautiful words. I don't know how to repair a friendship when I'm am a griever and they become too selfish or scared or just plain unable to handle it. If you figure that one out, I will gladly pay your handsomely. xo

  7. So timely. I feel the same. Sending hugs. xx

  8. "My kid died, so I just sat and waited for someone stronger than me to help figure out what I was supposed to do."
    Oh yes - I was sitting in that waiting room for a long time too!

    But, if there are lost friends who you really miss, I don't think it is too late to write that letter. They may or not respond - that's up to them, but at least then you'll know you've said what you needed to say. And maybe the ones who do respond will be the ones who are willing to have a depth of friendship that includes grief and forgiveness and everything in between. Those are the ones worth holding onto, I think.

  9. I think I'm losing some friends, maybe they are already lost. It breaks my heart, they were my closest friends,I thought they were.
    Others have stuck by me though, and I know it's not been easy, sometimes I think even they are getting a bit tired of me now...
    I dunno Angie, I agree with Hanen, it's probably not too late, if you really miss them. x

  10. Spot on post. In love with the letter. Should have done it too. I fret about some of those lost friends too. And then I keep reminding myself of the wonderful people my life gained through the shitstorm.

    Still missing along with you.

  11. This is so powerful, and scary. Scary because it's a theme amoung us babylost. How do we navigate this with those old friends who can never know, unless they've experienced what we have. And I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's the other loss we mourn which just rubs salt into the wounds.
    Gee you've captured it, nailed it. Hit home with it. I'd love to send that letter out to my friends, at least it would take the pressure off any expecations they may have for me, and any obligations they may feel. Right on Angie. Wishing you peace. xo

  12. You've captured this part of the shitstorm perfectly. As you know, I've been through a lot of this crap myself.
    I agreed with almost every word here, except the first line, I think.
    I'm not sure I miss them anymore. I am too busy missing my daughter. The energy of all that missing pretty much makes me too tired to miss anyone else. I don't so much miss them, but the life I had *before* and the fun we had together, way back when.
    But we can't bridge the gap now. There is no going back. I don't think I have the patience or energy any more to care enough to try and win them back over because like you, I know I probably did more wrong than they did. I don't blame them for walking away in droves.
    I do know it can be lonely though, especially when friendships you make post loss change as well.
    But I do want to thank you for writing this. As others have said - your timing is always impeccable and I've been giving this topic much thought of late. I think even more friends are fed up with me now that we near another anniversary and another birth.

  13. Thank you all. Your words wrap around me and make me feel like I have all the friends I need. And Nerissa, of course you can share it.

  14. It's funny, because if you'd asked me shortly after Calla died if my friends were there for me I'd have shouted yes yes yes. But now . . . hm. I think people are just, I don't know, not interested in talking about it. While I've definitely lost friends I thought would stick by me, I've gained friends I never knew I had or even thought would care.

    It's strange. The ones who are gone . . . well, I don't really miss them at all. Maybe I just lost the ones who weren't really the greatest of friends anyway.
    Love to you.xo

  15. Oh Ang, I love this post. And the one before that.

    A stranger was asking many questions of me last night, mostly about my daughters. Truly honest and sincere questions, and I felt myself going mute, giving only the barest of answers. Crazy how when you shut yourself down, guard your soul, how hard it is to reopen it.

    And the letter, crazy but I feel I like wrote that letter. Almost those exact same words to an old friend who became pregnant just as our last IVF failed, begging for clemency for all of the dicky things I would probably do/say/not do. She never responded. I never wrote back. That was the last time we communicated. That was close to 2 years ago.

    I think I feel the same as Hope's Mama - I don't miss the friends anymore, I'm too busy missing my daughters and the me I used to be.

  16. I love the description the exotic city of my past lives I think I know what you mean, I often dream that I am still there.

    Nodding along to so much for what you have written here, being afraid of the phone and being so terribly, painfully, easily hurt. I was sensitive before this happened but now I am sensitive to the point of pathology. Not a great quality when it comes to human interaction.

    Quite a few of my friend disappeared, immediately after she died, and then reappeared, six months down the line, as though nothing had happened. To this day, we have still never exchanged a single word about the baby who died. Although we would still meet for coffee and talk jibber jabber. Strange really.

    That my entire theological and emotional basis was contingent of everything working out in my favor. Mine was too I think. But how could we have known?

    Wonderful memo. Perhaps, as Hanen says, try sending a letter. I'm sure that those friends miss you too.

  17. yes, to all of this. and now i'm e-mailing this link to my closest friends. because i want to believe you when you say i'll be human again someday, but i'm not quite there yet.

  18. I have one really, really good friend who has stuck by me, every ugly, difficult step of the way - and I'm grateful because it turns out, that really was all I needed. As with Sally, I don't miss the others because they come so much lower on my people to miss than my daughter. And, a little differently from you and other dbms whose blogs I read, I really did do the running. I have friends who tried so hard to be there, friends who said the right things and did the right things and I was so jealous of their intact lives that I became a hermit. How profligate was I? To waste what truly is gold dust in our world of loss.

  19. oh this post, yep, so much. I felt like the people I would have depended on with my LIFE just evaporated (yet other people I wouldn't have thought twice about came crawling out with helpful ears). And yeah, I kinda sat and waited too, because I didn't know what else to do

    I likened it all to being in a room with really greasy dirty windows and every so often something big and upheavy happens that squirts Windolene on those windows and gives them a good scrub. So you truly see what and who is around you, no illusions, no carryover from the 'past'

    I still can't get past the desertion of some of those people. We are still in contact, sporadically, and I don't know if they see our 'friendship' as having changed since 2 years ago, but I most certainly do.

    No going back, but I have no room in my life/heart for fairweather friends. You're either there, next to me, or you're in the periphery with everyone else. Seeing me through the clean window

  20. I am so thankful you wrote this post. I do miss my friends, but have come to the realization that the ones who are gone are gone for a reason. Not the same thing as everything happens for a reason, but more so that death sped up the process. I didn't have a single person tell me goodbye or anything like that and in a way that sort of pisses me off because I didn't get to tell them off as I would have loved to do. Is that wrong? I think I would prefer the big confrontational event rather than just realizing people have abandoned you with absolutely zero explanation. It's hard to be angry when they never gave you a reason why, but yet you know why and that's a really sad thing.

  21. I am there with you. I understand your grief and being a bad friend because of it. I lost some friends because of my grief, but the important ones are still supporting me. Other friends, I think, are just waiting for me to come out of it. I like to think we are taking a break while I deal with my shit (which is taking forever in my case because I am suffering secondary infertility). Now that you feel better, maybe you should reach out to some of those old friends that you still feel like being friends with (I know some are not worth it). hugs

  22. arriving at this place of missing my friends was a journey. the important friends ended formally where they told me these things about how I was grieving too much, or too sad, or too angry. And we generally left the friendship with "no hard feelings but". Some others drifted away and I have reached out over and over without hearing from them. at some point, i had to say, the ball is in your court. so, i am at the point where I have reached out to everyone I can reach out to, and see very few people.

  23. We had been through a really tough year before Laura died. It kind of helped because there was a core of really good, supportive friends already in place when our world turned upside down. It also helped because I had already lost a big chunk of my 'coping' pride and was able to call on people, to cry with people, to just be with them.

    We did lose our oldest friends, weirdly, and not because we were too sad, but because we didn't need them enough when we were sad. I certainly didn't see that one coming. And it has been my choice to not make up, despite their efforts, because I know making up would mean pretending the fall out didn't happen. I can't do pretend anymore. I won't.

    Much love to you.

  24. I'm finding myself exiting friendships voluntarily at this point (8 months out). Some of them are supportive and some of them aren't.

    I'm also afraid that if they really knew what losing my son has done to me emotionally and socially, I wouldn't be the kind of friend they'd want anyway. It's a way to reverse the rejection I simply cannot handle.

    I don't miss them. I miss Andrew. I miss ME. I miss being carefree. But I don't miss them. It's perhaps quite awful and selfish to say, but I cannot think past my grief still.


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