Friendships....Then and Now

by Ricardo
(USA) 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 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."

Wendy: 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.

Sending prayers...

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Renewing old friendships
by: Liz

My feeling is that old friendships are too precious to let go by the way side as long as there is any interest there at all by the parties to continue the friendship.

I have two girlfriends that I went to high school with over 50 years ago and we found each other probably 10 years ago on the Internet. I treasure those two ladies right up there next to my families because we know about each other's joys and sorrows through the years.

It is a comfort to know I can confide in them at any time.

so sad
by: Dar

Wendy you said it all, i think, and you are right about the depression, it can sneak up on us very hard sometimes to know that is what it is..

by: Ricardo

Wendy, we have most all lost the "art" of letter may be on to something with my friend. I will have to "mull" it over. Thanks for the thought!

Wendy: Conversations are heard and perceived based on life experiences. Letters, maybe, can be thought out, from the heart and soul, and read between the lines...

I communicate best via the written word, thus the website. No distractions from the other persons body language, words, other movement and noise... just me putting words on paper (or a computer screen).

will try...
by: Ricardo

OK, Wendy, I will give it a try, I doubt that he will "open up " though, he has always been a private person and independent!

Wendy: Another idea... you write beautifully... is it too weird to consider a personal letter?

Talk about your retirement anxiety but knowing that you will be free in the end, to do what you choose to do. Tell him about your struggle in the hopes he realizes that you "get it" and invites you into his? Nicely tell him what you see in him... the loss of real life? Maybe he needs meds to get over this hump in life? Maybe it's time to make amends with his daughter... life is short.

Later, call for lunch....If no response, fine. But just in case this opens the door to renew an old friendship (which is really good for you too), help him find himself again, and find renewed interest in life.

Life is just too short for any retiree, after years of living in the working world, to not make the best of life!

... and its not about money, it's about the quality of your days!!

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