Do I let people go? Absolutely. If someone wants to boot me from his/her life, should I really be fighting to stay in his/her life? The one time I did explore this issue with Soul-sister, my explanation was this:
If someone is a friend, I have declared them my friend, then I am obligated to
respect that this person thinks their life would be better without me.
If someone says they want to leave, should I make it harder on
them to leave? That doesn't seem fair. Cutting a friend out of
your life is not an easy decision, why would I want to cause
the person more pain by demanding they stay?
I guess there is a part of me that feels that if I beg someone to stay and they still leave then I would hurt even more than just accepting their good-bye. There is, of course, a part of me that believes I deserved to left by all of my friends, that I am too awful to deserve friends.
I don't know. Maybe I should fight. Maybe I should make promises and compromises. Give up me in order to keep them. Here are some of the problems I have with those ideas:
- If I make a promise, I plan to keep it. Can I really change myself enough to keep the promises required?
- Is someone who wants me to change, worth keeping in my life? If they don't want me as I am, do they really want me at all?
- If the road that brought us to this impasse in the first place comes up again, won't I just get dumped again? Better to break it off now rather than later, no?
So anyways, I don't fight to keep people. I will fight with people. I will grow with people. I'll learn from being left.
That does not mean that I don't feel the absence. Even now losing Soul-sister hurts. I run into former friends and it feels like I'm dying. People who knew me. I let them in. They said you don't have enough good in you to keep you around. People who were family who are now strangers. People that I said "I love you" that now won't meet my eye. It hurts. I haven't heard from Soul-sister in about 4 years and even now I cry over the loss. Did I let her go? Yes. Did I fight to keep her? No. Do I miss her? Yes. Can we ever reconcile? I don't know.
There are times I describe being painted into a corner. You make decisions that put you in a fight or flight position. Once you lash out or leave, can you ever go back again? Now that those "friends" have left can we ever find our way back to each other? I guess only time will tell. I know I have lost friends permanently so there is no chance to reconcile. That makes me want to reach out. Apologize. Compromise. Life is short and tomorrow is not promised. Can I forgive the past? Can I move past the pain? Even if I can, would they be willing?
I did reach out to Soul-sister when I finished my doctorate. She was the most excited person when I started the program. The response was cold. It hurt to be dismissed but I respect that our lives simply do not intersect at this moment. Maybe someday we'll run into each other in a coffee shop somewhere and the cold and pain will wash away and it will be like we were never apart. Maybe . . .