Lessons learned through tragedy

Day 155: 08/03/2013 Entry

“Anyone can love you when the sun is shining. In the storms is where you learn who truly cares for you.” I’m not sure who said this quote, so I don’t know who to credit.

Those words are so simple and yet so very true. Since March, I have learned that painful lesson: you never know who your friends are until something terrible happens. Someone I considered my best friend and clicked with so well immediately disappeared from my life. No amount of texts, calls, emails, or even reaching out to mutual friends ever got that person to talk to me again; she simply vanished and I eventually stopped trying. After all, at the end of the day, this wasn’t the worst thing that’s happened (Brandon dying trumps A LOT of things). It sure did hurt though.

This same thing has happened with others too, and each one hurt. Some people I thought would for sure be there for me after something as terrible as losing Brandon, to put simply, were not. I don’t know why they chose to distance themselves; maybe they didn’t know what to do or say, so they chose to say and do nothing at all. Maybe I was too high of a reality dose and it was just easier to go back to the comfort of ignorance to the fact that death can happen anytime, to anyone, and nothing in life is guaranteed. And really, I understand…I used to live happily in that same ignorance as well.

On the other side of the coin, I have gained and reaffirmed beautiful and true friendships, friendships I know I will have for the rest of my life.

The surprising thing to me is that I’m not as bothered by losing these friendships as I always pictured I would be, or maybe even as I should be. I’m not sure why either. I suppose I now use Brandon’s loss as a yard stick to measure any “bad” or “disappointing” occurrences. So far, everything has fallen short of the magnitude of losing him, so I just tend to put my chin up, shrug, and keep going. It is what it is, after all. I’ve never been one to stress over things I have no control over; you just get exhausted and frazzled, and still nothing changes. So why waste the time and energy in the first place, if you’ll only end up going in circles?

I suppose if I’m completely honest with myself, the other reason I’m not as bothered by losing these friendships is since Brandon’s death, I’m not sure when exactly, but I have unknowingly become guarded. Growing up, I used to be very guarded as a byproduct of moving to a new country, losing most of my family to distance, moving all the time, changing schools, my parents’ divorce, and my Mom’s failed relationships. It was just easier to distance myself and never get too close or too attached. Why, after all, if it was all just going to change again anyway? I stayed that way until Brandon. True, for the first while of our relationship I had my guards up, but somehow, at some point, those guards fell away. I completely let him into my heart, without limits or reservations; I trusted him fully. It was such a wonderful and beautiful feeling to trust someone completely, to be myself, to have no walls up. It was so…promising, reassuring, and calming.

And of course, then he died. Losing him has been the absolute worst thing I have been through in my life, the most painful, agonizing, and soul wrenching. Is it really surprising that I have become guarded? I’m terrified of feeling that magnitude of pain again. So I stay a little distanced, a little aloof. Call it a survival mechanism.

Will it be this way forever? I hope not.