Friendship: Learning to let go

Red Rose Black Beach by Justin Ritchie

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When I was 13 I had a really close friend. I annoyed her to bits in the early days but she stuck with me; maybe it’s because I stuck like glue to her. Who knows which is more the truth?

We had the best belly laughs of my life and uncluttered and unfettered by the cares of adulthood, we dreamt and imagined all sorts of crazy ideas.

We only lived in the same city for 4 years. When I left for Australia at 17, I was heartbroken. We had spent almost every day together. How on earth could we keep things the same, when we were no longer in the same country? It hurt deeply for a long time until I realised I had to let go.

With the passing of the years and much distance, we aren’t so close. I used to make more effort but over time, it’s been a bit more one way as the busy-ness of her life and her large family took over. Despite this, I cannot forget my childhood best friend, my first kindred spirit.

I recently remembered a poem I wrote over 20 years ago about learning to let go of that friendship, or at least the form we had become accustomed to. It isn’t a work of art but it was one of 80 poems I wrote over a short period of sudden inspiration, which blew away as suddenly as it arrived. Maybe it’ll blow my way again, one day.


The Rose


The soft caress of the waves,

Tickled my toes,

Carving a mould around them,

Just for me.


The cool, gentle wind,

Ran its long fingers

Softly through my heart

As it soothingly whispered my name.

Then wrapping its arms about me,

It attempted to comfort my sorrowful heart.


Both of us knew what was to be done.

As I stood on the shore,

Sun slowly retiring in the horizon,

I took a last breath of my prized possession,

Drinking in the sweet fragrance,

Of my only, beautiful rose.

As I did, the dam within burst

And the tears of much pain,

Effort, commitment and love,

Flowed forth from my heart.


Then quickly, I threw her,

Far out into the swell.

In response, the sun

Gave up its last burst of glory.

Then slowly, quietly,

The brightness faded.

Darkness fell.


I stood watching, crying,

Seeing her slowly move away.

And with each rise and fall,

We grew further apart,

She to plant her seed on new ground,

I, to plant a new seed.

In the sunset of my heart....

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Have you ever had to let go of a close relationship?

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Linking with With Some Grace for FlogYoBlogFriday (FYBF).


24 thoughts on “Friendship: Learning to let go

  1. That’s a lovely poem and I’d love to read the other 79 you wrote.
    Yes, along the way I’ve had to lose some friendships.. mostly unwillingly because of certain circumstances. I’d never “un-friend” a person just that sometimes, we just can’t be a part of each other’s lives anymore. I do think of them often though.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • It sounds I’m a little like you, Ai. I feel loyal to those important people, even in my history, but sometimes things just change. The opposite has happened sometimes though where I’ve reconnected with an old friend. Facebook has been really helpful that way. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful post, you’ve made me all teary. I moved to Australia 4 years ago – at first I thought that it would be easy to keep in touch and that my close friends would still be close. But the distance has changed my friendships. It makes me sad, but such is life. I’m sure my old friends will always be part of my life, but i’ve had to let go in order to forge new friendships. Lovely poem.

    • Many of my closest friends, and family too, are either interstate or international and it is hard to keep them close. Our local lives get busy, as do theirs and things just can’t stay the same. I feel sad about it too, Catherine. I sometimes long for the closeness I see some people have who lived and grew up together in the same town. But I’m also not sure I’d trade the travel and moving I’ve done either since I feel that is part of who I am and has enriched me. Maybe some people have both have roots and wings and keep all friendships the same. I don’t know any yet.

    • That urge to write poetry at 19 surprised me, Chrissie. I felt prolific and it kept coming. I’m not saying it was all stellar stuff but they were spotlights into my soul and state of mind at the time. It was/is important stuff to me and so personal I kept most of it for a select few close friends for their thoughts and comments. Maybe you could say it was my first foray into blogging, of sorts! I still find it strange that we can have a special place in our hearts for people and yet no longer interact with them. I am mindful though not to expect that the few people I have reconnected with are going to be like they were 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago. My memories are sacred but we must make new memories based on who we are today.

  3. Yes, friendships do change over time…I am thinking of my best friend from primary school. We used to write letters to each other weekly when I moved away, then it was monthly, then it faded to nothing. Ironically we ended up doing nearly the same job in different parts of the world. But another friend from primary school who I didn’t keep in touch with has now become my daily pen pal over facebook. So it’s funny how things work out.
    Lovely poem. Thanks for reminding me of my old friend.
    from FYBF

    • Thanks for coming by, Zanni. Your comment reminded me that I used to prolifically write letters to my old friend after I left. We both did. It was daily, then weekly then dribbled to nothing much too. I’m always the sentimental one and kept all her letters. Sadly, she threw mine out many, many years ago. When I did get to visit her once every few years in my 20s, I used to tease her about it, pretending to lament (though deep inside I was sad she’d done that. She could have at least returned them to me, I thought). She’d always be so apologetic she’d done it. I stopped mentioning them years ago. And I still have her letters after 20 years. I’ve not re-read them but I always thought that if I wanted to know the state of my mind during that time, her replies to me might give me a little insight into that.

  4. It is so hard to let go of friendships, but somewhere there is no where for the relationship to go and it dies a natural death.. but it doesnt make it any less hard… I have let some friendships go, some deliberate and some just through natural course and neither is easy


    • You’re right, Jane, natural attrition happens. Then we also make new close friends over time. I’m quite loyal by nature so it is very, very hard to let go. I’ve had to remember, when I have reconnected with some old friends over the years, not to expect it to be like it was. It would be even more painful to assume it was.

  5. Oh, that poem, V! Just heartbreakingly beautiful! Having moved here and there as well, I’ve had to let go of many a close friendship. Some have returned, obviously not in the same form of intimacy but we’ve cordially kept in touch. Sometimes friendships are about meeting at crossroads. If we go our separate ways I always think that there’s an opportunity for our paths to meet again.

    • Thanks, Grace. I’m sure a literary critic would not rate it so highly but I did put a lot of emotion into it at the time and I can see how that would reach people. I like your descriptions about friendships as meetings at crossroads. I guess many people can touch our lives and leave a fond memory/imprint for a time even if we no longer are, or can, stay in touch. Maybe a redefinition of friendships would help with the letting go.

  6. I hadn’t thought about the investment of close friendships like that before. Its weird isn’t it how relationships go through a formal break up whereas friendships kind of linger unless we make a conscious effort to let go. As Grace said, sometimes paths can reconnect in ways you’d never imagine. I love your poem. x

    • Thanks, Lee. I think there is much more talk and advice out there about letting go of bad romantic relationships and or toxic friendships so people tend to make more deliberate decisions about these most of the time. The other relationships can change without us realising it in the midst of our, and their, busy lives. I guess when I think of letting go of that friendship, we are still in touch from time to time, but I’ve had to let go, and still have to let go, of my expectations of greater closeness. She’s not sentimental like I am and I know that’s played a big part in the difficulty nurturing things from afar. Who knows, maybe it would be different if she were more sentimental. I think so. But it is what it is. That’s me, letting go.

  7. I find it difficult to keep in touch with friends at a distance. Some of my friends from overseas will be friends forever… when we see each other we can pick it up right here we left it. With others – we’ve drifted apart. Beautiful poem!

    • It’s a lot of effort to stay in touch. You are a transplanted person, like me, though our loved ones are different distances apart. Still, being apart from those we love/loved does make things difficult. When I do go back to Singapore for a visit and see her, we do pick up and share good times, but I do feel the distance in my heart because of time and our busy lives. She isn’t as sentimental as I am so even if I were to put even more effort into writing to her regularly or calling her (and I used to), it gets hard to maintain when she isn’t able, in her busy lifestyle, to reciprocate. I can’t change that. Have to let go of that expectation.

  8. This post is timely for me as I recently let a friendship die a natural death. There’s nothing like major life events to test the strength of a friendship! In saying that I have a close friend who’s lived overseas for seven years but I know we’ll be friends for life.

    • Sorry to hear about that, Carli. Life events do stretch us. I guess how well a friendship survives sometimes depends on how elastic the bonds are between people, how much give we take and get. I have a really old and close friend who went through a marriage breakdown around the time I had my first baby. I could not be there as much for her as I’d like but we have survived. It’s hard though.

      On 05/08/2012,

  9. Beautiful poem. I think we can all relate to losing a friendship whether it was due to distance, time, or a misunderstanding. I have experienced all.

    • Thanks, Maria. Call me naive, but when I was younger I never realised close friendships could “break up”. Don’t know why. No wonder it came as a shock. It’s never something I could grow used to though.

      On 07/08/2012,

  10. Pingback: How’s my blog doing? « Mixed Gems

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