Hello Husband, Farewell Friend

Hello Husband, Farewell Friend

I forgot to say goodbye.

When you left that morning,
my breath damp with fatigue
with the audacity of nightmare
the immediacy of distress

I did not think to call you by name,
to let your usual response linger
in the ether between us.
How many people do you know who
begin their day with the end in mind?
©Assumpta Ozua 2016

I have been going to friends’ weddings for the past 10 years. That’s one third of my life.

The first ceremony I attended unaccompanied by my parents, that wasn’t for a family member was before I had even graduated from University. Since then I have travelled across the UK, Europe, Asia, America (and the Caribbean) to bear witness to the formal beginning of a new chapter in my friends’ love stories.

It’s been beautiful.

Of the numerous weddings I have attended in the past 10 years (I genuinely have no clue how many I’ve been to if I include family weddings and being someone’s +1), in a relatively short period of time, I was a bridesmaid seven times. Yes, seven. Now there are two ways of looking at this;

  1. I am either fairly well liked and appreciated by many women
  2. I’m the sap who will go above and beyond in the run up to the wedding and on the actual day

Frankly, I think it may be a combination of the two to varying degrees so the last person who asked, I politely declined. You see, it dawned on me that a few of the closest women to me are yet to get engaged and I would very much like to reserve my energy, finances and time for when their ‘big day’ comes.

Furthermore, it could potentially mean I would be exhausting myself (emotionally, financially and physically) for someone who could very well discard me in a few months or years as experience has sadly taught me. So I told myself “no more.” I chose me first.

Of the seven women I have been a bridesmaid for, I actively speak to three. I am under no illusions that when you get married and then have a family of your own, your priorities change. Even before you get married, this can shift and in the relationship hierarchy, friendships are usually at the bottom. Partners, family and children will typically supersede.

And that’s okay – we all have to prioritise and the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with and potentially start a family with should rank pretty highly!

For the record, my closest friends that I mentioned above, those who are yet to get married, I don’t speak to every day. We’re all far busier than we were as teenagers so it’s not practicable. The important thing is that when we do talk or hang out, it’s as though no time has passed and we fill each other in on what’s been going on and we’re there when it matters.

The three women I was a bridesmaid for that I still have regular contact with are also people I don’t speak to daily (although one of them sends me prayers and prays for me daily – I love her dearly for that). These three women taught me a valuable lesson that the optimist in me believed but did not seen manifest in a number of people; you can gain a husband (and in two of their cases, have a child) and not lose your [unmarried] friends.

Revelation!

The particular friendship that became a ghost when it was once a keeper of my dreams, the loss that hurt the most, is something that has been on my mind for some months now. I remember soliciting advice from my mother (who got married before many of her friends) and asking if my friends behaviour was normal? My mum helped me to see things from her point of view – I needed to be more understanding.

So I gave her the benefit of the doubt when she only wanted to talk about babies and never met me on neutral ground – always in the area she lived (far from me) and at a point, never without the baby in tow. After quite some time of feeling less important and worth making an effort for, I stopped trying and so did she. And that’s how 12 years of experiences, inappropriate humour and support became a silhouette against the dimming sky of our friendship.

I recently tried to reach out and was given a possible period for a meet up, months in advance with no concrete answer. I missed my friend, but it felt like I was the only one willing to try, so I asked her to let me know when she’s free and I was happy to work around her. I am yet to get a response.

The reason that this situation is more prominent in my mind is because I was chatting to the mother of my godson recently, trying to arrange a catch up and she told me to let her know where to meet her and she would be there. I suggested me to coming to her because my godson is so young (less than 4 months old), but she was more than happy to travel to my location of choice or meet me half way.

It completely threw me and got me thinking about the other women in my immediate or peripheral circle of friends who are similar and I genuinely took a moment to thank God for their lives because thankfully there are a few! They have no idea what these small, or actually quite big acts of understanding and selflessness can mean to someone who isn’t married yet and/or doesn’t have a child.

“The voluntary nature of friendship makes it subject to life’s whims in a way other relationships aren’t”

The deep investment we make in any close friendship results in feelings of devastation should we lose it. Although I am sad for some of the losses, I am grateful for the memories and always smile on the off-chance I see their updates on social media. Seeing my friends happy makes me happy. Hopefully one day our worlds will collide again – perhaps when I have a husband of my own.

21 Comments

  1. November 3, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    I really loved this post and it’s refreshing to see someone else speak out . I thought it was all in my head when I felt the distance grow longer than the M25. Thank you

    • November 3, 2016 / 10:05 pm

      It took me a long time to write about it because I too wondered if it was just me. Glad we’re not alone! Thank you for reading x

  2. November 3, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Love you too Mrs B!
    Thank you for always including me – even now that you have a family of your own ❤️️

  3. Mimi Oka
    November 4, 2016 / 8:43 am

    I love your post. This is so true x

    • November 4, 2016 / 11:00 am

      Thank you for reading. Glad you loved it x

  4. A Mum
    November 4, 2016 / 12:05 pm

    I stopped reading halfway through because, quite frankly, you bore me. You are clearly selfish and bitter and if you can’t tolerate how people’s lives have changed, talk to them about it, don’t post it online. Get a life, you clearly need one.

    • November 4, 2016 / 2:07 pm

      Thank you for reading halfway and for your comment.

      • Oma
        November 7, 2016 / 12:28 am

        As an unmarried person, I can say there is definitely a change when someone gets married and an even bigger change when someone has a child. For some women, they are able to manage it very well and the change in lifestyle and commitments doesn’t alter friendships in a drastic, dramatic way – have a close friend with whom I am even closer to now that she is married – and for some women their priorities change in a way where old friends no longer matter. That’s fine. Everyone is entitled to live their life how they choose and make time for whoever they want. HOWEVER, the women in the latter category MUST accept that this is the case for some people, and you cannot begrudge someone for speaking out about THEIR OWN experiences. It would be interesting to know if any of your friends feel this way (assuming you are married). You might be pleasantly (I hope) or unpleasantly surprised. Because people in the latter category don’t even begin to realise their own selfishness.

        Love and blessings xx

    • TOMI
      November 4, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Could you highlight where the author was in any way intolerant of the changes in people’s lives, or what information you felt valid enough to feed into the assumptions you’ve made when opining without a full read?
      Personally, I see no basis in this blog post for your stated opinions, but feel free to back them up with quotes if you can.
      Grace, peace and God bless

  5. Elder Aghatise
    November 5, 2016 / 4:46 pm

    A lovely piece indeed. Reading through I can see a complete demonstration of the saying like mother like daughter, always willing to go the extra mile to make others happy, selfless sacrifice. Remember the Lord Jesus healed ten lepers and he asked where are the nine. This is the world we lived in and it can never change, one will always come back as revealed in your piece. Remain blessed and thanks for sharing.
    Elder Aghatise.

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      Thank you very much for your kind words x

  6. November 7, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    As always Assumpta, loving this post! I think every ‘single’ girl can relate and I hope the ‘now married’ can understand! You presented a really balanced and understanding peice and I think that’s exactly the way it should be. I always say ‘you make time for the things/people you value’ and I pray that even when life changes that’s still true of me!

    • November 7, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      Amen. I pray the same.
      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  7. Ms I
    November 11, 2016 / 1:40 am

    A very thoughtful piece. I reckon that for certain ladies, without meaning to, we get caught up in the new responsibility of starting a family. However I’ve found that in the most valuable friendships I’ve had, in the midst of being busy when I get to catch up with my close friends there remains that deep understanding that we’ve always got each other’s back despite “marital status”. These days we get caught up with work, studies, and everyday joys/challenges. It is the ability to put these aside (or share these) while consciously reaching out for the ones we love – therein lies friendship. So… “Hello friends, hello husband” our circle of love, support and friendship should only get stronger as long as the values we share continually bring hope of better tomorrows and fulfillment of purpose.

    • November 11, 2016 / 8:44 am

      “So… “Hello friends, hello husband” our circle of love, support and friendship should only get stronger as long as the values we share continually bring hope of better tomorrows and fulfilment of purpose.” – I absolutely love this closing statement. It’s something for us all to strive for. The first of my friends to get married I hardly speak to but when we do talk (even if months or years have passed), it’s like nothing happened and we just fill each other in. Friendships that have that level of understanding and independence are sadly few and far between though. Thank you for this insightful comment.

  8. November 20, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Loved this blog post! As always, written so eloquently. It can be difficult to juggle a new family with friends, after all you’re the same person but with more lovely people in your life. But it’s so important to keep your own sense of identity outside being a wife, mother etc and your post highlights that. The feeling of the love of great friends is immeasurable xXx

  9. A loving mother.
    November 22, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    What a bizarre read… when you get married and have kids of your own I hope you feel guilt for writing a blog post about a friend whom you apparently cared for so much…. don’t you think it would be hurtful for her to read this when all she’s done is become a selfless mother to her kids? perhaps you could have made more effort and gone to visit her as most good friends do… no friend of mine has ever judged me for not having time because I’m a mum now and anyone that would judge me is selfish. Not to mention if I ever read a passive aggressive blog post about me – intended for my reading. Just awful behaviour 🙁

    • November 22, 2016 / 6:04 pm

      It’s a shame you see it that way but I appreciate you reading nonetheless.

  10. A loving mother
    November 22, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    As a mother, a loving friend and a former victim of passive aggressive blogs written about me it’s the ONLY way to see it… it’s online bullying of the worst kind because you deliberately wrote it for your so called friend to read it instead of just talking to her in an adult fashion. It’s a shame you can’t reflect on your own behaviour here. Sad times. You owe her an apology.

    • November 22, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I did speak to her and I did visit – you’re making assumptions based on your own experience which is fair enough. It’s a shame that your friend didn’t understand you and your situation, but it may not actually be the same here. Again, thank you for reading and commenting.

  11. November 29, 2016 / 10:47 pm

    Great and honest post! Even starting a full time job can be difficult to balance time so I can understand how starting a new family can make some lose track of friendships. But to echo sentiments above, it is still important for both parties involved to make time for those you care about and friendship should always be a two-way street.

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