Keeping in touch with rediscovered childhood friends...(?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-26-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I lost my father this past March. It was very sudden and I am still trying to process it/heal. (maybe this belongs in  "grief/loss"? But wait for it...). Losing my father, I realized, made me miss my childhood. And the fact that I am in my early forties and starting to feel like I am aging compounds this feeling of nostalgia. In April, around the time of my dad's birthday/second memorial service, I started thinking about a family that I had spent some time with as a child. My parents had sent me to their home out of the country when I was 11 for a couple of weeks after the daughter had spent a couple of weeks with us. When I was 15 I spent a couple of more weeks with them. I loved that family. I corresponded with the daughter for many years. While I was staying with them, I bonded with one of the brothers. I had a pretty big crush on him, but it was always cloaked in friendship, and nothing ever happened. He was a couple of years older and was always very attentive and flirty, but he and I never kept in touch. I'd say the last time I had contact with them is about 25 or 30 years ago.

 

Well, so I was thinking about this family. I googled him (he has the most unusual name of the family, and to be honest, I have very fond memories of him so was curious about him) and I found him. I emailed him to tell him that my father had passed away (our fathers were friends but had lost touch). Turns out his father had died a couple of weeks earlier. He put me back in touch with his sister, and she and I have been back in touch with regularity. The surprising thing is that I am in touch with HIM now, with as much if not more regularity. Those first couple of weeks he was constantly checking in to see how I was doing. I don't think anybody else was as attentive.

 

I guess I don't know what to make of it. And there is a multi-part issue. At some point this constant communication will die out, but it's too important to me now, and I don't think I am able to let it. Being in touch with the both of them is the only thing that has distracted me from the loss of my father. I know that at some point I need to let go...of them, and of my dad. Am I being weird? I'm wondering how THEY must perceive this. We will go everyday with communication. (I email with her, I text with him). It will fizzle because I will feel like I am initiating too much (and to be clear, even though I do most of the initiating, they are always very quick to respond). Then eventually, after a couple of days (I think the longest it has gone is maybe a week), one of them will initiate and we will be back to almost daily contact. I'm not like this in my other friendships/relationships. I don't keep track, I don't get insecure. But this kind of has me thrown for a loop.

 

At first I was worried that maybe I was starting to have feelings for the brother again. Deep-seeded 16 year old girl feelings. To be clear, I am married with three girls.  He is married with two boys. He's been away on vacation with his family for the past two weeks and I haven't had any contact with him. And I've already decided I'm not initiating anything anymore. Just in case. ALthough the thought of not being in touch with him makes me sick to my stomach.

 

But I realized that I am just as "weird" about my communications with the sister. I think something about being in touch with someone from so long ago just has me on my heels a bit.  

 

And it also makes me realize my life is not where I want it to be :(. I gloss over a lot of things when I talk to them. It has made me think about the changes I need to make so that I can be proud of how my life has turned out. For example, I stay at home with my kids, which is fine, but we are financially struggling and if I went back to work (I have a masters degree. Not that there are any jobs out there, esp considering I've been out of the work force for over 10 years) it would help enormously. We'd be able to travel (something this family does extensively). So it has made me reevaluate some things...

 

This is a NOVEL. If anybody got to the end of it, kudos to you. I don't even know what I'm looking for. Maybe someone's perspective on this new/old friendship? My husband knows I am in touch with them but I don't think he realizes how often I am in touch with the brother. WHich is maybe a danger sign in itself...

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#2 of 6 Old 07-28-2013, 10:28 AM
 
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well ... i would say your recent loss has made you more aware of your present emotional needs & since they are experiencing grief and loss too, it seems a good fit for now for exchanging e-mails and texting .... since you say you don't have the money to travel right now, i don't see that it would lead to meeting up in real life ... so i would take it as an excellent opportunity for stretching your mind and exploring new ideas, taking stock of how things are in your life .... if it does help you emotionnally to communicate with them ... i wouldn't worry so much you may well have intense needs right now,& be a little afraid of that intensity ... but after all you are probably still in some stages of your grieving process ... a year from now, you'll be in a different state of mind anyway + they may stop communicating with you at some point for reasons that have very little to do with you .... so , enjoy the present whilst it lasts ..
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#3 of 6 Old 07-29-2013, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for responding. It helps to have an outside perspective. You make it sound so logical. I've been feeling for a long while that my life has not played out the way I thought it was going to, but I just haven't had the kick in the pants to do anything about it. Reconnecting with them, if nothing else, makes me want to actually make some changes. If I was smart I would harness that while it was it full effect.

 

The whole family has kids that are somewhere around the age of my kids, and there has been some talk of recreating our childhood experience of having their kids spend some time here, and mine there. And also some talk of a joint family vacation with the sister. Just talk, nothing defined.

 

You're right, in a year's time this may all be a blip on the screen. But at this point they are so intertwined in the story of my father's passing, that it makes me almost grief-stricken to even think that I may lose touch with them again. But if I'm honest with myself, I do need to make a break from the brother. Nothing good can come of it. I feel very indebted to him bcs he was a big comfort, but I'm afraid of emotional lines getting crossed (on my part). I would never "DO" anything about it, except be miserable. And I need to not be miserable.

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#4 of 6 Old 07-30-2013, 05:46 AM
 
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yes ... seen from the outside, it's a question of "taking all that can benefit you in your present state " from that renewed relationship .... yet not going "too deep" (but in the early grieving stages, that's hard to achieve yet ...)

 

"if i was smart ...." not easy to work things out for the best always when in the middle of it  (ask me how i know ! LOL)

remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with your present state of mind & feelings & the grieving stage you are at .

 

about emotional lines being crossed ...  it takes two to Tangoe + at times, even with long standing friends, there's some un-balance in their respective "needs", you go through stages in life when you have more needs or less needs of using friends as "crutches" => could you set yourself a time limit or even several times limits (in 3 months time, in 6 months time etc .... i remember when i grived for my father i litterally had some physical symptoms on the 3 months mark and then felt clearly going through stages at key dates later on in that year ....)

and then "give yourself permission" to experience all the deep feelings you are afraid of whilst knowing that you made a deal with yourself & that by such and such pre-determined time, you'll be trying to be back to what used to be normal beforehand ...

you could journal about it even, that could make it easier to live through ...

just a suggestion ....

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#5 of 6 Old 07-30-2013, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sigh. Yes, I have been journaling. But I think it is making it worse. WHen I lost my father my journal entries are all about that loss. I can't even go back and read it.  Too raw. After making contact with this family (the brother especially) almost ALL of my entries are about the brother. It's ridiculous. And I think journaling somehow makes it all more intense. At first it was just the thrill of being back in touch with him. And how receptive he was. Very validating, esp bcs I was never sure whether our flirtation was mostly in my mind or if I had made it into something that it wasn't. But he's referred to it a couple of times, and something about the thrill of that feeds my inner child. We have had hours of text conversations. He's never inappropriate. If anything I feel him pulling back. For example, I'm pretty sure he's back from vacation, but I haven't heard from him yet. And that's ok. It just makes me realize I'm putting more importance on this than he is and that too is painful. I think the other thing that is making it feel intense is that I can't really talk to anyone about it...just this limited conversation is helping diffuse it and put it in perspective.

 

I think I'm scared of losing the distraction and going back to grieving my father. Losing my dad still hits me like a ton of bricks sometimes. But much less bcs of all of this "nonsense". I know it sounds weird, but I sometimes wonder if my father helped orchestrate this bcs he knew it would get me away from how sad I was feeling.

 

I think keeping in touch with the sister will have to be enough for me. But she's on vacation too, so I'm stuck in this kind of limbo. And she's very busy with work etc, so even though we are in touch very regularly, I need to let go of the regularity of that at some point too. UGH.

 

ETA: Just got a picture from the sister from her vacation. It's a salve somehow.  See how weird this is? My two best childhood friends (that I have stayed in touch with almost all my life) are both away (not together) on vacation...I have no idea when they come home. I've been in touch with them while they've been away, but very sporadically and I have no idea when my last communication was with them. Nor am I worried about who initiated the last text or who should text/write next.

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#6 of 6 Old 07-31-2013, 07:34 AM
 
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don't want to appear unfeeling/inappropriate (since you say you have been journaling already)but was thinking ... if you need the distraction from the griving process , what about "using the material" of your written exchange to write a short novel of some sort,... that way, it's not "in real life", yet it helps you 'use" what it is that makes you feel better from the interaction ..but at a distance somehow . ...

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