Wednesday, September 19, 2007

no answer

I have a friend. A good friend. We've been friends ever since, through the vagaries of alphabetical order, we were assigned seats next to each other in a class on the history of Kievan Rus'. She's been entirely on my side in every crisis large and small, offering whatever I needed: a hug, a drink, a meal, a compliment, a loan, a couch to sleep on, a promise that things would someday, somehow be better.

By the time the twins died, she had moved to a faraway town, but she sent me white chocolate and dried apricots and called all the time. If anything, she wanted to talk about the twins too much and said the girl twin's name too often, but it's hard to fault her for that. She's had some very difficult times in her own life, so it's not as if the support has been entirely one-sided.

But here's the thing: she hasn't done anything wrong. In fact, she's done just about everything right. But I've been avoiding her phone calls for months. She left a message for me a couple of days ago, and I just can't make myself return the call. Why does the idea of talking to her make me want to cry?

24 comments:

Ruby said...

Maybe you already know what she'll say...and how you'll feel?

slouching mom said...

Because you don't want to talk about the twins unless you initiate the conversation?

Beruriah said...

Because she reminds you of the feelings you want to avoid?

I say call her - she sounds like someone who can follow your lead if you tell her what you want and need. It seems like it will only get harder the longer you wait, but that she's a really good person to have in your life.

ALM said...

I agree with the posters above. Probably she reminds you of the feelings... also, you know that feeling when you're right on the edge of tears, & you know you'll start crying if somebody says something nice to you? Maybe she conjurs those feelings in you?

Or maybe all of the above. Sometimes it's not just one thing; not one simple answer.

Call her. Tell her what you've been feeling. A good friend can hear that, accept it - know that it's not just about *her* but about both of you -- & talk about it. And I bet you'll feel so much better...

Christine said...

or maybe you're afraid of telling her about kyrie and saying it all out loud will scare you, make it seems too fragile.

maybe.

she sounds like she has a good heart and is a loving person. write to her first, perhaps. maybe that will help.

ms. G said...

I think it could be fear that she in some way forces you to think about things you don't want to. But like someone else said, she seems like a really good friend, one who will follow your lead.

It could also just be that sometimes that overwhelming wonderful and good support makes us emotional, and you are not wanting to visit there right now. I know for me, when someone is so "there" for me, sometimes I long for a normal conversation with them, one that doesn't visit all the crap in my life.

niobe said...

Christine: There is no way I'm telling *anyone* about Kyrie. Not my family, not my friends. Absolutely no-one. (Well, except for those random strangers on the internet).

If the IVF worked, I wouldn't tell *anyone* about the pregnancy until and unless there was an actual live baby at my house. I can't bear to tell everyone, once again, "I have some bad news. The baby's dead."

LawMommy said...

Is it that her genuine concern for your well-being feels like a burden? Because you'll feel obligated to discuss how you've been feeling (good or bad) and you don't feel like you can share that with anyone right now?

Is that she is the friend who is there for you when something bad happens, and now when something good might be happening, you don't want to talk about it and have it jinxed and become a bad thing?

G

Eva said...

I'm not really sure why, but if you think it is because she wants to talk about the twins, then you can consider telling her that's one topic you'd rather not touch. It's so good for a person to have old, close friends, so I think you might want to do what you have to do to make it so you can talk to her. As for not wanting to tell anyone bad news, that is totally reasonable. But of course you may not always want to be hush hush about it. Give yourself permission to change your mind if you stop feeling fear of retribution for your positive thoughts. It's really unfair you can't go into this joyful and optimistic. But if the only joy you get to feel is the joy of a real, life baby, well, that's okay.

Artblog said...

I understand this dilemma only too well; I too think its because unless you broach the subject, you're not ready to talk about it;

Maybe you could tell her this, nicely of course and then you could meet up once again without fear. if she is indeed a good friend, she should understand.

X

Magpie said...

It's already been said, but it sounds like you're afraid that she'll remind you of the twins. Call her, but head it off at the pass and tell her you'd rather talk of other things.

LAS said...

Email her first. It's okay to tell her you don't want to talk about certain things and it's okay to not want to feel something. She sounds like she would understand. Set some boundaries - she will abide by them. It sounds like she cares a lot about you. I wish I had people in my life who cared this much. She sounds like someone you wouldn't want to lose.

Elizabeth said...

FWIW, it seems like when I feel this way about someone, it's because I can't talk with them and keep my guard up at the same time. The relationship is predicated on vulnerability, openness, and disclosure. If I feel like crying when I think about talking with someone who's a very close friend, it's either because I'm holding something inside that I know will come out when I talk with them, and I'm not ready to do that (because it maybe just hurts too much to go there) or if for some reason I WANT to tell them something but I CAN'T. I feel this way every time I think about God.

meg said...

I'm not sure what the answer is to this one. I have managed to withdraw myself from most people, even the few who did say the right thing and did stick around. I guess I just got sick of being the tragic figure and having all that pity. I know people mean well and they do care, but I just wanted to feel somewhat normal and for me, that's not possible when the person knows so much about my history. But that's me and my own weirdness.

I think you should email her and honestly tell her that you can't hear about the twins right now (unless you bring it up--I know that probably won't happen), but then it leaves you in control of the situation, instead of having the jolt of someone mentioning the twins.

Also, I think the fact that this friend did say all the right things and did acknowledge your losses, is pretty impressive. We hear so much about the ones who don't/can't. Then again in my present hermit/nun state, I'm probably the last person to offer advice on this one. I will say though, the one friend who I pushed away, just waited until I could deal--she understood--and we have managed to have almost a normal time hanging out. I say almost, because who knows what that actually is now?

Caro said...

I don't think I can add to what the others have said. But I agree that it is probably about not wanting to talk about the twins.

Bon said...

maybe it's just not wanting to feel exposed.

or i'm just projecting. :) but i avoid phone calls because something about framing deep and intimate conversations on the phone, about being probed by someone who really cares about how i'm feeling without the benefit of face to face contact or the safe remove of the written word, makes me feel uncomfortable and a little bit skinned.

negotiating the distance between where i really am, good or bad, and what this other caring but faraway person can understand, and exposing myself to the "wherever this conversation may take me" of that, freaks me out.

could just be me.

painted maypole said...

oh, everyone has already said it. I think you know she will ask you questions you don't want to answer.

You know, it's OK to let her love you and take care of you. And it's also OK to just say "hey, I don't want to talk about this right now"

Christine said...

oof--sorry. i didn't realize that you wouldn't tell anyone. but i think i can understand why.

My Reality said...

Because she is the one person who you can be honest about your feelings with.

And you might not be ready to go there right now.

Anonymous said...

or maybe once you have been vulnerable but no longer are, you prefer to not be reminded of your previous disclosures. you are protecting yourself. you strike me as an intensely private person, and perhaps you don't want to be reminded of what she knows about you. maybe it is because you are uncomfortable with what she knows.

Julia said...

I don't have any wisdom beyond a guess, already voiced more than a few times here that it is, in some way, about exposure and feeling vulnerable. It would be a sad to loose a friend like that, though, so if you can handle it, calling her would probably be a good thing. With ground rules, if need be.

Manda said...

Sometimes it's hard to let someone in no matter how well you know them. It's that whole thing with ripping off the band aid to let the wound air out so it can heal ... ripping the damn band aid off really hurts even though it's probably the best thing for you.
Give yourself some time. It's ok if the band aid sits on there a little longer, it just can't stay there forever. :)

Amelie said...

Maybe you're just not into talking that much at all, especially for difficult things? I feel much safer writing because I can take my time and (re)consider what and how to say, and what to leave out. Would meeting her seem as bad as calling?

Pamela Jeanne said...

For the exact same reason I've been dodging one of my closest friends the past nine months. I can't hide my emotions from her. I know I'll cry in her presence when she asks how I'm really doing, and with the three kids under five she's sure to kvetch about some element of motherhood -- so I'm also afraid I'll say something I might regret.