The Impact of Losing a Friend by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
Recently I had a falling out with a friend. And now my daughter, who considers this person a friend, is impacted too. At dinner last week, I was trying to explain something about the situation to my husband and I ended up saying that this person didn’t want to be my friend any more. My daughter then asked if the woman was still her friend and I said yes because I didn’t want my daughter to be sad about the situation.
What a drag that this really stupid adult situation can impact my child. My daughter doesn’t see this person a lot, but the woman works at the college where I work. At times my daughter and I used to drop my her office together. My daughter is a very social and loving person. This situation is unexpected and if I wasn’t a mother I would probably feel less sensitive about it. Recently, my daughter wanted to make a pot holder for the friend, which we did, but the gift hadn’t been given before this incident.
I’ve tried to see if we can talk, but this former friend has rebuffed me. So here I sit wondering when my daughter is going to ask to take the pot holder gift to this person—who is not thinking about how her actions are impacting a small child. When the gift comes up, I keep wondering how I am going to respond.
One thought I had was my daughter and I would drop off the gift together as we would have done before, but then, what? Maybe the woman would understand the difficult situation I am in? It seems risky at best, because frankly a trust has been broken, so do I really want to put my daughter at risk? No. The other thought was to mail the gift, which as I am writing this post seems much smarter. At least then I am in control and I can make it fun and even explain away, a bit, a possible “non-response.”
I considered this person a very good friend. We have known each other for three years. We have had family dinners together, at her place and at my place. I would drop by her office once every week or two. I didn’t consider the friend just an acquaintance. She wrote a number of letters of recommendation for me. I wrote one for her for the creative writing program she was applying to. I say all this to explain my shock. It never occurred to me that we wouldn’t be friends.
As an adult I can move on, but what about my daughter? It’s really a drag that my daughter is now collateral damage in an adult situation. I don’t know how one can anticipate these kinds of situations. I know that loss and rejection are a part of life, but I feel cautious about future friendships. Being mom is complicated in very unexpected ways.