I’ve been thinking about transitions and friendships lately. On three occasions, recently, a name or a picture of someone who was a good friend in the past has popped into my life. I was recalling with some fondness and nostalgia my memories of this person, this person, and that person as their name or picture popped up.
I remembered, though without any force, the pain I had experienced when they left my life. The transition and change was rugged, sorrowful, and full of anger in some of these cases. In one case, I had changed in way unacceptable to my then friend and so the relationship was ended. In another case, the person had to make a transition of her own and did not carry our friendship forward into this new life of hers, and the other was a misunderstanding that on the surface was minor but was really an indicator of a dying friendship. In a couple of cases, there was a modicum of betrayal or desertion felt by me and in another, an acceptance of what was to be.
It made me think of the Death card. In this 21st century, we read the death card as transformation and change rather than the death of the body, though when I read it that way, I hear Rachel Pollack’s voice say that sometimes death is about death. In these three cases, it is about death. At one point, I had become a different person and the person that was a good friend to my friend, died in her eyes. She couldn’t accept my transition. In another case, my friend was changing and she couldn’t envision her life with our friendship viable within it. And in the other, the period of denial and bargaining was over and the death of a friendship was accepted.
None of these were easy. Inevitably, transformation means that something will not make it through to the new life or vision. Transformation means that what was before no longer exists. Sometimes it means death. So I look back at the past and even the recent past to think I’m content with who I am. In some cases I do miss what was and in others I do not. The pain and anger is gone and the sweet memories remain.
And is that not the lesson of Death in all its manifestations?