The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

I think I'm going to take a chunk of Friday Blog Roundups to ask all of my blogging questions. The posts may end up long, but it's the weekend, so you can read it in chunks. Chunks. It's one of my sister's least favourite words--chunky--I always think about that when I use it. So I'd like to apologize in case someone else is bothered by chunk. Chunk. I can't stop chunking it.

The impulse for this question will come clear when you read one of the blogs in the roundup, but it boils down to the friend-that-got-away. I think most of us have one; that intense friendship that ended abruptly and the person will not really explain why they have severed the tie. Mine took place during my sophomore year of college and it was a long, painful breakup. If she would have been amenable, I would have gone to couple's counseling--this woman was truly my heart. I still remember the first day we fell into "friend" and I still remember the last time we spoke which was at 4 or so in the morning during my 21st birthday.

For a while after we broke up, I wanted an answer. Nothing she said was really good enough to warrant throwing away our friendship. Later in adulthood the reason dawned on me, but it doesn't feel right to google her (okay, I googled her. How can you not google her after you read Shelli's story?) and send her an email out of nowhere saying, "hey, is this is the reason we broke up?" Because why we broke up has ceased to be important. We have now moved on to the sadder stage (which is mingled with the angry "why" stage) which is that we have broken up.

I think the reason we are so sad when friends exit our lives is because each person who interacts with us--especially those on an intimate level such as a best friend or a roommate (of which my person was both)--know a piece of us that no one else knows. Josh may know me best right now, but he never knew me during sophomore year or high school or middle school like my friend did. She is the only other person in the world (except for all of you, right now) who has the same collective memory of the price check on the tampons at People's Drug. She knows a certain Melissa and having someone else hold a piece of you--a piece of your shared consciousness--and not having them in your life is disconcerting. Especially when you know that they're walking around out there, holding your collective memories.

She is holding a literal chunk of my heart.


Which brings us to the blogging question in all of this. When you write a blog, you sometimes (depending on the type of blog) share a huge piece of who you are. You share collective memories of things you've read. Each of us share a collective memory of the losses that rocked the blogosphere for the past two months. We each share a collective memory of the Creme de la Creme and the creation of the Braces Bunch and all of the other small pieces that quilt the blogosphere. Years from now, when we're old and grey and our granddaughters are talking about their own infertility because everyone is infertile in the future due to movies-coming-true syndrome (MCTS) as well as the Great Coffee Tidal Wave of 2038, we will tell them about Julie and Serenity and Bea and Lori and all of the other women in the blogosphere. And the man-pies. I will be telling my granddaugther about Smarshy. Which means that I am walking around with pieces of you and you are walking around with pieces of me.

Right now, we are all accessible to one another and there is rarely a falling out that precludes the person contacting another. The blogosphere usually operates on a "just slip away" tendency. But what do we owe each other in terms of that friendship? And how do we view that idea of collective memory in something as amorphous as the blogosphere? You intimately know my thoughts and feelings yet you don't actually see me (except for bloggers I meet face-to-face) and you hold these pieces of me yet you're somewhat unreachable because sometimes I don't even know who is reading this.

Which is a topic for a different day.

The point is that idea of the lost friendship and what they take and what we willingly give away on the Internet and what we keep. Beyond that, I'd love to hear your friend-that-got-away story because for a few years, I truly thought I was the only person on earth who had broken up with a best friend. So...discuss.

Next chunk:

Sometimes, when I don't post a Connections Abound it is because I am lazy...I mean, busy. But other times (like this week), there wasn't enough news to post on Wednesday. Is this because nothing was happening across the blogosphere or things were missed? I'm willing to guess the latter.

There are clickers for different categories reading through blogs, but you can greatly help the process by (1) sending in your own information when you need support, want to celebrate something, or are seeking information on a specific situation. (2) If you are shy about sending in your own information, ask a reader or friend to post it. (3) If you are reading a blog and the person looks like they could use some good thoughts or support, send it in for them. Send it here and my email is always in the opening at the top of each post.

I'm just saying, the resource is there. Anyone in the community can use it. Don't be shy--I don't always write back, but I do post anything on-topic (meaning, if you are a cooking blogger and you want to talk recipes, well, I'm not sure why you're posting on an IF/pg loss/adoption blog, but that has happened in the past. On the other hand, if you are an IF/pg loss/adoption blogger and you want to talk recipes, well, by all means, send a blurb). If nothing is happening in your life right now where you need specific support or celebratory comments or questions answered, just keep the idea in the back of your head for a time that you do.

And in other news, I created a list of common abbreviations specifically for IF/pg loss/adoption blogging and added it to Operation Heads Up. It's #53 on the list. If you see common abbreviations missing, let me know so I can add them. Hopefully, one day, we can make MCTS so commonplace that it can be added to the list.

And I'm still adding to the Creme. It's trickling down--the new posts. It's sort of like popping corn when it gets to the end and only a kernel or two is going off. I will retire the little icon down the sidebar when I go a little bit without a new update.

And now the chunk that is the actual purpose of this post, the blogs:

Shelli at Hydrangeas Are Pretty had the post that kicked off the questions above. It's not only well-written, but in reading it, it made me think about my own friend-who-got-away and the deep sadness that comes with such a loss. So my heart went out to her and it started me on a mad googling spree. It was nice to see that my old friend was running 5Ks and taking care of her heart with exercise. I still wish her only the best.

Speaking of heart health, when I read this post by Julie at A Little Pregnant, I laughed so hard that I had one of those moments where my heart hurt from laughing too strenuously. My reaction to an already amusing image was compounded by the ChickieNob's current "can it eat me" stage. As in, can a tiger eat me? Can a lion eat me? Recently she asked if a pigeon could eat her and when I answered that pigeons are too small to eat her, she thought for a moment and returned with "can a pigeon eat my finger?" I hope the pirates did not turn bad and eat Charlie's head. Nor any of the other children.

Marjorie at MomBrain had a very touching post called "Tempting Fate." She grabbed my heart at the beginning of the second paragraph: "What I am is most kindly — or at least euphemistically — worded by the big red words on the chart my OB carried into each appointment with me while I was pregnant: Advanced Maternal Age. Those big red words still feel like a hot embarrassment, my very own scarlet letters, as if I had sinned by getting pregnant when a smart woman my age would be helping her teenagers with their college applications." And she only gently set it down with the question that comes towards the end. You need to read this post if you have ever simultaneously mourned and been blessed by fate.

On the topic of fate and choices and change, M at The Maybe Baby had a post about her recent cycle. She asks about the decision to start down the IVF road: "If things fell to sh*t right now and we decided to not try again, to leave this dream behind, I would have no hesitation saying that the exploration, the process was all worth it. I was pregnant, if only for a few days. That's what I would say today. Catch me at another time and I might rue the day that I ever started to question my childfree life. It wasn't/isn't so bad, is it?" It is truly a gorgeous, heartfelt post.

Lastly, you must click over to read this single-paragraph post by Baby Steps to Baby Shoes on the topic of menstruation. It's as simple as that.

Still with me at the end of this chunk? Apologies for the extreme length. So, to roundup the roundup, send stuff for Lost and Found if you have stuff for Lost and Found or if others have stuff for Lost and Found. Plus what are your thoughts on the ideas on friendship as well as your friend-that-got-away? Much peace this weekend.


DEMummie said...

Hey Mel, I just read your post on friendships breaking up, dissolving or drifting apart. I think this is a universal experience that we can all relate to on some level.
For me, I am struggling with cutting loose a friend that I have had for close to 15 years. Although I think that usually friendships dissapear because one party wants to "forget" something painful or embarassing or whatever and the friend seems a constant reminder of that experience, even if that friend was supportive during it. Does that make any sense?
My situation is different right now.... the friend I am thinking about "releasing" is just not supportive in the least. Never called or sent a card when Mark died, didn't return my emails announcing my move to Canada (where she lives), didn't return my Christmas wishes (and yes she does celebrate Christmas). Perhaps I am the dense one, and she is trying to cut me lose?In any case, I don't think the relationship will continue. And, like you, I DO wonder why. I tend to be guarded with my emotions, so it isn't like I have been whining and crying on her shoulder or asking her even for any support..... Maybe the relationship is just no longer meant to be?

As an aside, I have now blogged more this year than I have in either 2006 or 2007. I am not an interesting writer.... but perhaps I will get better.
Thanks for all you do for our community and a special shout out to Daisy for directing her readers to my pitiful little blog!
Kathy (DEMummie)

Kathy V said...

Hi Mel,
My friend that got away story was too long to post her so I posted it on my blog. Come on over and visit if you want to.

serenity said...

First off - chunks = chocolate to me - my parents used to get us those huge solid chocolate bunnies for Easter and then would cut it up so we could have a chunk a day. Plus I love chocolate chunk cookies. So I don't have the same association with the word as your sister does. It's pure yumminess.

Hrm. The friend that got away? One that still causes me sadness? I really don't think I have one.

I guess never seemed to make just a few really good friends when I was younger - I always seemed to collect friends along the way and move on when the time seemed right.

But that was before I developed a sense of responsibility to my friends. I never realized how much maybe THEY might have relied on me... consequently one of my old elementary or high school or friends probably has a story like you.

As it relates to blogs... well. This community helped me stand when I didn't think I could on my own. And in my opinion, you can't take support without giving it back to people in SOME way. If that means connecting with a few bloggers and having a friendship IRL, then that's something. Or continuing to blog when you've gotten pregnant or your adoption referral or have your son and/or daughter in your arms. So that's what I personally think I have a responsibility to do.

The community is as tight as it is because we're all walking a remarkably similar path right now.

But. Just like in real life, too, it doesn't mean we'll always be on walking in this group together. We are now, we're all here because we've shared infertility and pain and loss. But as our lives progress, it's inevitable that people will peel off and leave you with just the pieces of them at that one moment in time.

I suppose it all boils down to my own philosphy that there are very few people in this life in which you'll walk with for all of your life.

And though your friend may have a chunk of your heart, so do you have hers.

Beagle said...

My friend that got away is someone I am better off without, but still it hurts.

I shared a lot of myself with her before I realized that I shouldn't have.

So I kind of feel like that piece of my heart is out there, exposed and fragile, in an unsafe place where I can neither retrieve it or protect it.

The best I can do is to learn from the experience and be more careful in the future.

So my story is more about regret than loss in the sense you speak of. But the question "why" still plagues me all the same.

shinejil said...

I lost several friends when I stopped partying, people I thought I had real bonds with. We appeared to share more than drunken stupidity. In one case, I had been friends with this person for over a decade, had seen him come out of the closet, and he had seen me through two marriages and a whole lot of other insanity. We had always had an amazingly insane and profound time together.

He came to visit (he's from overseas) a few summers ago and we organized a whole week-long road trip for him and his friend. We had some strange tensions because I could no longer share his interest in late nights at the bar. After that, no word. Nothing. Though he's been in touch with some of my (drinking) friends.

I never realized how big a chunk of someone's life alcohol and its use can involve. I wish I could have done something to bridge the gap between us...

Jen said...

I had a friend that got away too. I actually sent her away. She tried to sue my company (which I own, personally) and seemed to think that we would be fine after that. I am still furious at her.

After that all happened, I looked back at our friendship and realized that she was never that good of a friend. I put all the effort into it. My husband told me that all my birthday and Christmas presents that she gave me- he had picked out and paid for himself and she took credit for them. So, I guess it is good that she is gone, but I miss having a girlfriend to hang out with.

MLO said...

I'm sort of with Serenity on the whole "friendships leaving" thing. Friendships come and go. Nothing in this life is permanent and that includes both friends and family.

I am slow to make close friendships and have no contact with anyone from High School. I don't even hang out with people from my college days.

I know a lot of those people left when they learned that I had food allergies that precluded restaurants and bars as meeting places. That is sad, but many of them were gone long before that. Anyway, if you are so unoriginal as to think that bars and restaurants are the only places to hang out, well we probably won't have that much in common.

Why do I think it is that many friendships just die out? Because, in my mind, until we are adults, we don't really understand who we are. And, thus, we outgrow many of the people who we knew in high school and college, especially. There is also the issue of job changes - where it gets hard to keep up with the others because you are so busy with your own life - or they with theirs - that you just lose touch.

Of course, it could just be that I can't remember names worth anything. Even of people I have known for years and years. (When God was giving that part of memory away, I was probably sleeping in :o) )

In all seriousness, not everyone is as invested in a given friendship as the other person. Some people invest a lot more into a friendship only to be disappointed. I tend to cut folks a lot of slack around this issue. I don't want to force my company on anyone and vice versa.

My DH, on the other hand, seems to still be friends with every person he has ever met. For me, this gets very tiring. (I do not enjoy his reverting to 11 when he gets together with his pre-adolescent D&D gaming group! ::shudder:: )

But, that's just me.

JJ said...

Loved your post at are so creative-I love the things that you compare and relate-great work my friend!
When I hear the word Chunks, I automatically think of Chunk from Goo.nies...
There are friends that I have lost touch with for sure, and I always seemed to be the one to put the most effort into keeping the friendship alive--I got the point where I just couldnt do that anymore.
But on the other hand, I agree--friendships come and go, and sometimes it takes time to really nurture the ones that mean the most to you.

Anonymous said...

Chunk 1: I started to write about my friends that got away, but decided you probably didn't want my novel in your comment area, so I moved it over to my blog and called it a post. Check it out and you'll see why it would have been a bit long, :)

Anonymous said...

And oddly enough, my friend that got away #2 is running 5ks as well. I did some creative Googling last summer after the incident.

littleangelkisses said...

My goodness, I want to ditto Beagle exactly!

I still work in the same building as my "frenemy". I do not see her often as I transfered to another grade b/c of her. When I do see her, I don't speak to her unless she initiates it. It's too hard. I know I'm better off without her as she's toxic but it does hurt to know that because of the situation I'm out of a lot of other friends too.

I actually did go to counseling over it before Boo was born...and after as well. It helped me to realize that it wasn't MY fault that the friendship disintigrated and that my choosing to end it, I was helping myself.

SarahSews said...

I have several, most from my days of living in DC, 3K miles from every person I knew in the life I lived before I moved there. My life there was so intense and crazy that the friends I made were also intense and crazy. I miss some of them, but not others. Some just faded away as people moved and others were sharp cuts that stung for a long time. The three that survived are lifelong, support through thick and thin, friends that I wouldn't give up for anything. That seems like a fair trade on most days.

ekunkelmann said...

I think Serenity and MLO both said it well.

Last summer I read an interesting book called "What Did I Do Wrong?" by Liz Pryor. It wasn't an academic or psychological study of why women end friendships, but it helped me realize that I wasn't the only one, nor necessarily a bad person, for having friendships that seemed to end without "closure." -- Ellen K.

hoping4baby said...

It is funny that you bring this topic up. I, too, believe friends come and go, but it is important to try to stay close with the few that really mean a lot. However, that does not mean that the ones that get away do not mean a lot but just that something changed. I don't have any friends other than my DH that I would call a BF. But I do have some great ones. Problem always seems to be TIME. Most have children and I just do not know if they are staying away b/c they don't know how to be given our IF journey or if it is purely too little time. So many live in other towns but even the couple close by is rather distant relationship wise. I did have quite a few of HS friends, a group of us, that parted for various of unsure reasons.
It is great that in times like these we can turn to web communities for support. I have not been here for long but I'd like to say I have found some "friends" in the short time. Great post - thanks!

Jess said...

I myself hate it when a blogger simply disappears. I can understand the need to withdraw, but I feel like I feel MYSELF as if I owe this community more. When I went invite-only I gave everyone notice. I felt like, you know...I've gotten so MUCH from this that I couldn't just leave with no explanation. Whenever someone does that, I feel a little hurt and sad...I read because I'm invested in your story, so I hate to see you go, especially if it's not explained and I'm always left wondering why/what happened.

Friends that got away? Sigh.

I don't story is so COMPLICATED. I'll give you all the short. I've talked more in depth about it and I'm sure you (Mel) might remember. I have a cousin who was my childhood friend right up through high school. We did EVERYTHING together and I loved her like the sister I never had. It was special. It still IS special, that time.

Then there was a boy, who I was friends with. Then WITH WITH. Who I became SO CLOSE to that it ached. Then my cousin started dating him. Hurtful things were said, done, etc. Looking back it wasn't my fault. But I'm not ready to say it was hers, either.

In the end, I lost both of them. And they didn't end up together, even. I don't see the boy anymore much, though our lives are meshed in other ways and so I do see him now and again. But he never has said one word about either of the babies. Not one. Last time I saw him I was pregnant and we had Ava with us, and while he knew we tried for years for this...he didn't say ONE WORD to either of us (he was also a friend of Travis').

The cousin....I see her, email her, talk to her. YOu kind of can't escape your family, after all. And I love her still. But there's not that relationship...that deep and meaningful sense of KNOWING each other. Now we're cousins. And that's sort of ALL. Because the years we missed...they were years that were big years. Years for her of college and dating and growing. Years for me of treatments and miscarriage and pregnancy. It's better than it used to be with her, makes me tear up a bit to even say can't be the same. Those years are too big. They're years of the sort we SHOULD have known WITH each other, should have SHARED, and we didn't. And being years that have and always will shape us both forever, the bond can never be that strong without those years shared.

Does that make sense?

Cathy said...

My friend who got away was my best friend all through high school. College. My maid of honor. We went through first boyfriends, first times, abusive relationships, successes, failures. Pregnancy scares (remember when it used to be a scary thought?) and an abortion (not me). Everything. We were there for everything.

And then I was having my medical dramas. So I withdrew. And she didn't reach out. And I got angry, and she blamed me. Deep down though, I know we had our falling out when she had her abortion, even though we pretended it was fine after. Last month she came to my grandmother's wake. We hugged. We talked. I showed her a picture of my sons. And she left, promising to call me. She hasn't. And I haven't called her.

I tried to leave blogging behind with the birth of my sons. I wasn't in a place to read about other people, and I wasn't wanting to share. But in the end, I felt I had to keep going. For myself. For the friends I've made, and for those who read but never comment - they followed me through everything else, how could I leave them now?

loribeth said...

I've moved around a lot in my life and I've lost touch with many of my oldest friends. It saddens me, because as you said, they know a part of you that many other people don't. I have kept in touch with one high school friend who wasn't a close friend... my dh doesn't especially like her, but she lived in the same city as we did for many years& is here several times a year to visit. She's one of the few people in my life today who knows me from high school, & I stay in touch with her because of that. I'd like to know how some of my other friends are doing, but I accept it as the way life goes sometimes.

I haven't had any bad experiences of being cut out of someone's life like you or Shelli. I have kind of disengaged myself from one friend in particular whose reaction to my daughter's stillbirth was, I thought, less than supportive. I still run into her from time to time & exchange Christmas cards, etc., but I don't make any effort to seek her out any more.

I lost touch with one of my good friends from university (& one of my bridesmaids!)... kept her on my card list, wrote in hints about how I'd love to hear from her, but never a response. I don't believe it's anything I did -- she never was a great letter writer! My mother actually ran into her a couple of weeks ago at a Walmart in the city, & gave her my e-mail address. I had a brief e-mail from her saying she would write more, but so far, nothing.

And I recently stumbled across a blog by a woman who was on the same pg loss e-mail list as I was for several years. We both lost baby girls on Aug. 7, 1998, & e-mailed each other privately too. This time, I was the lousy correspondent. ; ) I'm glad to have "found" her!

Ally said...

Mel, I loved your post on disappearing friendships. I had a brush with one of my "disappeared" friends earlier this week and I've been meaning to write about it all week long. I let the rawness of it cool down all week and came home from work, fully intending to write my post. I read your post and the connectedness of it all made me smile. Thank you for writing so beautifully, as always, and thank you for letting me know I wasn't alone in that kind of situation. It frustrates me how this still hurts, even after so much time has passed.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm ... funny you should post this today, because I heard through the grapevine today an update on a former very close friend. I have had a few of these. One I am still in very sporadic contact with, but we used to be joined at the hip (in high school and part of college). The one I heard about today I haven't talked to since 1996, when we were sophomores in college. Another I haven't talked to since 1995, and at our high school reunion she would barely speak to me even though I tried to be friendly. Sigh. Sometimes I still have dreams about the ones I haven't spoken to in years, because the relationships remain (probably forever) unresolved. I have no answers about how to achieve closure with respect to them, since I haven't managed it yet. Anyway, count me as another reader who can relate.

Michell said...

I know that I've had friends who have just drifted apart although none that I can remember have been very dramatic although I'm sure there are some that have been painful at least at the time. I have to admit though to being the dumper before. I had a friend from middle school who tried to reconnect with me via my mom and the church my mom is involved with and I had to just say no since I had no desire to continue the friendship with the added pressure of "why don't you go to church". I also have another friend who is very fundamentalist christian who I have limited contact with now even though we were very close when younger. I still care for her but we have nothing in common. Hmm. Maybe I'm the bitch who is the dumper.

Michell said...

Oh, and the chunks thing. I forgot a funny I read once. It said I used to skinny dip, now I chunky dunk which would be me if I ever tried that.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Well you've given me another reason to appreciate you. I read your post Sunday afternoon and it made me remember how much I missed a friendship that had seemingly drifted away a few years ago. I thought I'd done something to offend this friend (chalk it up to Catholic guilt). I finished your post, g.oogled her, and found a bio with an email that gave me the opportunity to send her a note. Lo and behold four hours later (and three time zones away) she responded. No misunderstanding at all, just lots of life issues that got in the way. We've reconnected, happily, and will have a chance to pick up where we left off. So, thank you, Mel!

magdalen said...

mel, you've given us some good stuff to think about. i "broke up with" my oldest friend from childhood earlier this year, due to toxicity, alcoholism, emotional manipulation, mental illness, and verbal abuse. i miss this person and i feel guilty about the whole thing...

but on the other hand? i think dealing with The Baby Issue puts many of us in an exquisite state of sensitivity to interpersonal relationships and what is truly important in life. toxic people and unsupportive "friends" sometimes don't make it through the filter when you are dealing with your own massive grief.

my own Baby Issue is not infertility (as far as i know), but is more a "childless by marriage" meets "other medical issues" situation. making the decision to stay in this situation has been enormous and wrenchingly painful. dealing with that, plus a suicide in my family, sharply illuminated the negative influence of my former friend. i just had to cut loose from that.

you also mention blog friendships -- mine are tentative at best. i have some very solid friendships based on a different online community i've been a part of since 1992. it does hurt or feel bewildering when someone just "drops out" without saying goodbye...

-- magdalen from the Nymphe blog