Friendships....Then and Now
Well.....it had been I guess about a year or so since I had spoken with my friend of some fifty years.
It was the holiday season, and over the years he had gotten a divorce and had some physical problems as well. It has kind of always been the type of relationship that if I did not call, it did not happen.
Growing up we lived just a block or two away from each other, and as we became teenagers, we picked up summer jobs working for the local municipality, probably did that for two or three summers in a row while in high school. That got us rather close even though we attended different high schools, and different colleges.
He went on to become an attorney and later a judge, married and had a daughter. He stood up at my wedding and became my daughters godfather, he as well had one daughter. We, as couples, over the years, retained that relationship to some extent visiting a few times a year, but things did not seem to be the same.
Then, about ten years back we found out that he divorced. We kept in touch from time to time with him, but again, it was not the same. I digress, but it was necessary to give some background.
Well, I called him a week or so ago and was able to reach him, he did not sound like his jovial self, he always had a joke to share with me during past conversations.
He suggested that we meet at his house, the same one that he had been living in for years. We would visit a bit, have a cocktail and then go out for lunch...it sounded good to me, seeing an old friend once again.
Well upon arriving, we hugged and lied about how good we looked and then began engaging in conversation. I might add that it was basically a one way conversation because he had very little to add or say, and this was an attorney whose profession depended on his oratory once upon a time.
Well, as it were, he had retired about three years ago, his daughter had not spoken to him in over five years, and he was a broken man, a shell of who I remember him as being. I tried resurrecting our past relationship, but to no avail, it did not work.
We had some faded memories that at least I had clung to, but we no longer had much in common. It was not a pleasant day. I was sad, disappointed, perplexed, and a bit bitter....I had lost what I thought was a cherished friendship.
I say all this to say, maybe we should not "try to go back" or relive what we once had, it can be a disheartening experience. He wants to get together every few months, but I am talked out.
It is really work when you are doing all the talking and running out of things to say to an "old friend." It was uncomfortable, and I do not know if I want to do it again.....yet I feel somewhat guilty....I guess one can not "go back."
Not quite sure where to go on this issue... but I really hate to see you walk away from a lifelong friendship -- right when he needs you.
I wonder if he is simply depressed... once a Judge, people consulting him all day, running to his beck and call -- and suddenly nobody.
Rikk, since you retire in January, why not give him another lunch or two the first few months of the year. ASK him what's up? Ask if he has sought out help professionally... we don't want to tell someone our issues, but heck, there is life to live. He's worked all these years and deserves a happy retirement like the rest of us.
Just consider it... my heart hurts for retirees who get stuck like this.