Feelings and Grief

“See, nobody believes in friendship. People talk about it, you see it on TV, people drop by or go to the doctor together…no one eats alone. But most people are alone. That’s the thing about friendship. It’s a lot rarer than love, because there is nothing in it for anybody.”  Steve Dallas (as played by Owen Wilson in Are You Here.)

I was watching a movie and that quote caught me completely off guard. The movie is about a very unconventional friendship and it threw me back through space and time to when I had a best friend in a very unconventional friendship. Like the character played by Zach Galifianakis, my best friend back when I was a teen had serious mental illness. When her mood was up, she was funny, inventive, weird, and super fun to be around. She was also fiercely loyal and would drop anything and be there if I needed her. I felt the same way. We might have been rather unhealthily codependent, but it worked for us.
She was diagnosed as "manic depressive" and I suffered from a hormonal imbalance and some suspected PTSD from years of being bullied and mentally/physically abused. I hid what was going on with me rather well so I never ended up in therapy like my best friend did. In our relationship, I was the stable "sane" one. I can laugh about that now. But she depended on me being her rock, so I rose to the occasion as often as she needed me to. Until the last day, when I let her down. I just couldn't rise that day. That day everything was too much and I was in too low a place to be there when she really REALLY needed me. But that's another sad story.
Back to the quote. It is really a profound statement on what it means to be a REAL friend. Sure, many claim to have friends. You have people you can call to go have lunch, go shopping, maybe have dinner. But if your world was crashing down around you and you were ready to lie down and die, do you have a friend you can count on to drop everything and come right over? Just to listen and hold your hand? Or clean your house? Just see a need and do it, without being asked? Be there without ever expecting anything in return? Just because you are needed. Just because you love that person and want to see them happy.
I miss that. I miss having a real friend. I lost my best friend 26 years ago and, even now, the grief sometimes overwhelms me. If you have suffered a profound loss in your life, people love to say that time heals all wounds. But it's a lie. They might scab over, but they never fully heal. Sometimes, many years pass and something opens up those wounds and you bleed all over again. I want to call my friend and tell her about this movie. I think she would have hated the ending as much as I did. And we would laugh about it.


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