I'm not even going to pretend to make this fit 100 words.
I went out with a friend last night. Didn't drink too much, made sure, because when I drink I get confessional. I say things, I tell things, I share things. Shared appetizers and had some beers.
I hadn't talked to him in over 6 months. In the meantime, I got divorced, I lost a job, I moved in with my parents, I got a new hard job, I bought a house, I navigated a lot of shit, basically. And he wasn't there.
In fact a year and a half ago, there was a really hard thing that happened. My middle child, Maeve, had an asthma attack like none she'd ever had, and nothing the ER tried worked (albuterol, steroids, magnesium straight into her veins). She was admitted to the PICU and I joined a club of mothers who would do anything to not have membership to that club. Maeve survived, and as I've written else, my father the former ER nurse handed me a glass of really good whiskey and told me he's seen people die of status asthmaticus, that it was "one of the true lung emergencies".
During that time, every single person in my life, EVERY SINGLE PERSON, responded exactly how they should, or better than I ever could have hoped. Coworkers brought casseroles. Good friends, my dearest friends, visited me or took me away from the hospital for a couple hours once the true danger had passed. Other friends and those far away wrote me texts and emails of encouragement, asked about how things were. Acquaintances commented on social media. The director of Maeve's theater group visited her. Maeve's friends texted her. Neighbors and relatives watched my other kids and kept the house clean and answered the door and the questions.
It was, hands down, the worst week of my life and it showed me that I was loved in spite of all my foibles, flaws, and fuck ups.
Except for this friend. He stayed away. Completely. Enough that I asked a mutual friend if maybe he was out of the country and therefore didn't have text access? She let me know that this sort of thing just wasn't his thing. He just didn't do sadness. He didn't do hard things.
Oh, ok. I get that, people have hang ups.
Except that this friend is a priest. If Maeve had died, I would have leaned on him. I would have had him do the funeral. He is important both as a dear friend and as a minister of faith.
And he didn't show up.
In fact, on a group text to the mutual friend, she had asked for an update and I gave it to them, and it wasn't a great update, and he responded, "yay prayers for Maeve".
I thought I had forgiven him and moved on--in fact, he was the priest who sat by me as the principal pushed the manila folder across the table to me, although he showed up for that moment after I made it clear that he NEEDED to do this for me after what had happened with Maeve (to which he responded with confusion and claimed he didn't even know it had happened, although the texts and the social media and what??).
So I took a break from him. And he asked to go out and I went out and it was fun to sit and chat about the things we both like chatting about. Chatty chat chat.
I came home and called a friend and told her how it went. And how it was hard, but maybe good, but I don't know. And I said, "The thing is, he doesn't want the hard stuff and right now my life is a lot of hard stuff and I've been there for him, it's not like our friendship was only fluff, and then we got talking about the break I'm taking from the Church and he got a little prickly."
He did. And I hedged to keep the peace but couldn't outright lie. He said I needed community and I needed church, and I held my ground to my great surprise and then he clammed up.
I continued to explain on the phone: "Right now what I need is to come home to my cute little house and my cute little dog and be with my kids and my friends and try to recover from the last year and a half and then figure out what to do next. He doesn't get to tell me he knows me, he doesn't get to say anything to me."
And I burst into tears. Because that last sentence was true, horribly true. And it is heartbreaking.
I'm not over it, how he wasn't there in any fashion when I needed him most. I don't know when I will be. And I don't know how to make it happen, even. But I'm pretty sure it's not at his table, literally or figuratively.
And that sucks.
It just sucks.
Oh, I am so sorry about this friendship. My first thought is why the fuck is he a priest if he cannot handle hard things? I cannot imagine the heartbreak you felt that week of Maeve's crisis and his silence/inadequate response.ReplyDelete
But I know there are friends out there that are great during the good times, but woefully inadequate during the bad. My supposed best friend (she's a therapist too, but not mine) once told me she "didn't do death" and I learned she really didn't after the deaths of my parents and her complete lack of sympathy.
I thought the same thing, Dona. Clearly he's a shitty friend, but he is a shitty priest too. "Yay prayers for Maeve?" WTF?ReplyDelete
God I'm glad Maeve is okay. I hope you are looking after yourself. These 18 months have been too much for anyone to manage alone, so thank goodness for all the other people in your life who were there for you.
Same thoughts here re the priest. And I can't imagine what it would be like to go through that with one's child... so glad she's OK, and that so many people--not all, sadly--came through for you.ReplyDelete
I cannot imagine how terrifying Maeve's illness was for you. This priest's cluelessness re your needs astounds me. Your instincts seem sound to me; time, healing, family and dog, and you will figure it out. Just wish it didn't have to be so damn hard.ReplyDelete
Wow. Spending time recently with church people in my small sect of origin reminded me of how important the work they do is—this death stuff, this living with each other stuff. How the KIND of person who can do this, day in, day out, is rather amazing. I understand burnout, of course, in anything, but I don't understand going into the job when what you need to be is THERE if that's exactly what you can't be. Wow.ReplyDelete
A priest who doesn't do "sadness. He doesn't do hard things." Yet he calls himself a priest? Talk about delusional.ReplyDelete
Basically, he's completely lost your trust. Both over Maeve, which would have been the worst time in your life, and over the school stuff (he sounded useless for that too). And frankly, his reactions tell me he doesn't deserve to get your trust back. Your intimate thoughts, and your life, are your own, and it is an honour for anyone who gets to share in those. And he's lost that privilege. Your relationship is on a different, shallower level than before. And that sucks for him. But yes, it sucks for you too, because on top of everything else that has happened, now you're going to have to grieve that loss too. Hugs.