Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Jo Jo

 Dear Jo Jo,

I want you to know that this causes me a great deal of pain.  We were once really good friends. I was maid of honor at your wedding.  I knew you were pregnant before your husband did. I sat down with you with loan papers and spreadsheets and figured out a budget for you so that you could go to college. I drove two truckloads of your possessions to your very first dorm room. I cried with you when your parents got divorced, when your dad was arrested for a DUI, and again when your mother got remarried and then your father pulled himself together and got remarried, too.

I sent so many emails to you when I was in college that to this day, your email account is the one that my hotmail account defaults to when I am sending emails.  Every day there is a reminder to me that we were once as close as the books crammed together on my bookshelf. You had one kid and then another and then you just stopped.  Stopped emailing, stopped calling, stopped sending pictures of the kids.

Something happened, chicky, and I don't know when. You called and told me that you were leaving your husband, discussing issues with money and alcoholism and inlaws. Then you called, told me you were pregnant again, and were going back home.  You are on kid number four now and you never talk about those days when you were so sure your marriage was over.  You write Facebook posts filled with cheeriness and happiness and all of us who knew you when wonder what the fuck happened and who took over your body.

Look, I know. I'm a bad, bad friend sometimes. I forget to call until it's too late. I forget about time zones and interrupt dinners when I call. I forget birthdays, I forget to send cards on anniversaries, and I frequently forget how to pronounce your youngest daughter's name.  But it's not because I don't care. Do you remember these pictures?  Dr. BB took them at your wedding.  That's me. Goofy and happy because you were goofy and happy. 



Recently you were diagnosed with one of the very same illnesses my dear husband has and I spent an afternoon typing up recipes and sending them to you in a notebook. You never let me know you got it.  I sent you a birthday card this year and it was even on time. You never let me know you got it. I called you when I was going to Michigan and asked if we could get together, but you never answered the phone and you never returned my call. I get it.  You've moved on and we're not friends.   But I'm still your Facebook friend and so I have some things to say.

I'm worried.  You are not you anymore. It's like someone has taken over your body.  Somebody who seems to think that this veneer of a perfect life will fool us.  If you are super duper happy being this person you've become, good for you.  But if you ever, ever, ever decide that you are done with this facade and you want to come clean or you need someone to vent to or you just need a break, remember me.  I will be there for you. I will talk to you about the importance of enrolling your children in school, getting vaccinations, and doing what it takes to get your husband into treatment. I will babysit for you. I will sit on the phone with you for hours if that's what you need.

I understand that you want it to be that we used to be friends. But I want to make sure you know that, in my mind, we still are friends.

Peace and love,

3 comments:

  1. I hope she reads your blog because she's lucky to have a friend like you ... even if she's in a place that she can't recognize it right now.

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  2. For sure I do not recognize the name. But I recognize the pattern. A friend of mine, an old old dear friend, married. She and her husband seemed very happy. He was a little more "old school" than I would have imagined her with, but she seemed happy as a domestic. Then they split, "It is final. We are divorcing. He is verbally and physically abusive, one of those psychopathic 'ministers' who turns violent." Now they are back together, she completely returned to her "I love my perfect husband" ways. I just hope that he is not beating the crap out of her.

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  3. Heartbreaking. I went through a phase where I buried my soul for a few years (it was to survive a church that was good, but just dealt with emotions very differently than I did). I lost touch with most of my college friends during that time. Nothing on the same scale as your friend, but it was very disorienting to gradually re-emerge and realize how dead I'd been. I'm glad you're not shutting the door, even though it hurts much more to leave it open.

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