The Loss of a Best Friend

“You’ve become a shell of the person you used to be.” The words stung as they spilled from my best friend’s mouth. They were the last words she ever said to me.

The year was 2018 and, in retrospect, the worst year of my illness. I had recently left her bachelorette party around sunset because I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was struggling to keep upright in my platform sandals. Even more recently, I had called to wish her a happy birthday a day late, jumbling the once familiar numbers in my head. Moments earlier, she had tapped my shoulder to awaken me from the crumpled form I’d taken in the wrought iron cafe chair.

When I came to, I was overwhelmed by a barrage of harsh and hurtful words, most of which I hardly registered. I had hurt my best friend, deeply. Yet, I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. I couldn’t figure out what I might have done differently.

At that point, my boyfriend had been telling me for years that something seemed off. It wasn’t normal to be so tired, so weak, and so disconnected from the world before me.

Losing my best friend was one of the most painful experiences of my life. My heart ached for years as my calls went unanswered. I allowed myself to be struck by the second arrow–the painful thoughts that emerged following the event.

Yet, once I had recovered from the initial blow, that encounter was the catalyst which prompted me to look in the mirror and acknowledge that she was right–something was wrong.

Though it has taken five years of effort to arrive at the answer, I now know what was wrong.

It’s too late to revive that friendship. She holds a grudge and I’ve accepted that. Yet, I learned something through the experience.

Suffering is the hallmark of humanity. To feel is to live. To feel deeply is to live fully.

The pain of losing a best friend forced me to examine myself more closely. Who am I? How have I changed? Who is it that I am becoming? Is this the person that I want to be? Do I need to change my trajectory? If yes, how?

At first, I may have been a shell of the person I once was. However, over time, I’ve peeled away that outer layer. I’ve cracked the hard-boiled eggshell, pried the nut from its encasement, and held back tears as I slice through the next layer of the onion. In doing so, I’m left bare-skinned and authentic, with no armor and no facade. I can no longer bear the weight of either. I’m, perhaps, more myself that I could have been sans suffering.

In recognizing my own imperfect humanity, I’ve also gained an increased capacity for compassion. In many ways, the expereince of losing my best friend made me a better human being.

The suffering we endure in life is often viewed as tragic and unfortunate. But what if there is more to the story? Might there be utility in our suffering? Join us over at the Heart of the Matter to discuss just that.

22 thoughts on “The Loss of a Best Friend

Add yours

  1. Very profound. Yes, there is utility in suffering, if we see what we need to and learn the lessons we chose to learn. There’s always a flower among the thorns, even if we only see the flower in retrospective when we look back at what we went through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This? Pretty darn profound, I say: “Suffering is the hallmark of humanity. To feel is to live. To feel deeply is to live fully.” While I’m so sorry about the loss of your friendship, how you’ve navigated and found peace about it feels empowering. Thank you for sharing. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Vicki! 💕 Yes, as painful as the experience way, it was empowering. I’ve always been empathetic, but have somehow increased that one-hundred-fold… I think, today, I’m a better friend than I ever was, and am far more forgiving of transgressions. We don’t always know what others are going through… and they may not even know what they’re going through.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “To feel is to live.” Such absolute truth. A painful story, yet you arrived at acceptance whole. Thank you for sharing. I just read your post over on Heart of the Matter. Absolutely beautiful. Both posts! 🌸

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautifully written and your new found strength is shining through. I’m sorry about your loss of your friend. It seems like if she knew what you’ve been through the past five years, she’d forgive you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, E.A. I think you may be right that she would understand and forgive, knowing why I wasn’t able to be a great friend during that time, yet I think there’s still enough pain and shame surrounding the experience that she rejection of any attempt to reconnect might crush me all over again. I don’t think I’m ready for that now, but perhaps at some point.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Erin, I absolutely love both of your posts from today (I think). I’m sorry your friend couldn’t open her heart more to you and offer understanding rather than judgement and resentment. Perhaps one day. This is my favorite part you wrote, “However, over time, I’ve peeled away that outer layer. I’ve cracked the hard-boiled eggshell, pried the nut from its encasement, and held back tears as I slice through the next layer of the onion.” Just amazing and beautiful. These lines speak to me at this moment. Many, many thanks ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my dear. I’m glad to hear that the lines spoke to you. I was thinking about the comment about being coming a shell of my old self, but it really does feel as if that shell was cracked open and, as Leonard Cohen would say, “That’s how the light gets in.” I suspect it’s a similar story for many suffering from chronic illness–first we lose a sense of self, and we discover who we really at our core. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, this is beautiful “In doing so, I’m left bare-skinned and authentic, with no armor and no facade. ” I’m so sorry for your loss – but I agree with your conclusion that these types of experiences make us more compassionate. Beautiful posts, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m very sorry about the loss of that friendship Erin. It sounds very painful. In retrospect, it did help trigger you to be aware that something was off and to do something about it. So in that sense, I understand your point around finding a good that came through that pain. It’s never easy, but life is such, and way to go for your continued perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ab. ❤️ It was hard and painful, but I now view it as one of several sacrificial lambs to get me to where I am today. I had to have some of the largest pillars in my life knocked down to recognize the earthquake. The rattling dishes tried to warn me, but I wasn’t paying attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree that to live deeply is to feel deeply, but as you mention, there can be emotional pain involved. Some people learn and grow from the suffering, while others languish in a pool of bitter tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point, Ally! The temporary pain can be useful, but continuing to view oneself as a victim long past the point of usefulness can hold a person back from that healing and growth.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Esoterica Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: