June 12, 2009

The Rest of the Story

I know that my last post was vague, that was the intent. As someone told me, "it reads like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". There are a couple of friends from way back when that know who I'm talking about, or at least have a good guess. But for the rest of you here's a little more light on the situation...

JU was one of my best friends in High School. Undoubtedly my best male friend.

Our houses were down the road from one another (maybe a mile between the two) but due to logistics and boundary lines we attended different school districts. We'd been neighbors most of our lives (minus the times we moved around with my mom, but my Dad still lived close by) but never really knew each other until High School. A couple dozen students from the High Schools in our county were involved in a Math/Science program at a nearby vo-tech school all 4 years. All of us spent half a day together, every day, all 4 years. JU and I were both in the program and quickly became good friends.

We tried dating our Junior year and I was the one who put an end to it. I knew that I was in love with him, probably had been for a while. At the same time I knew that any kind of emotional relationship could be catastrophic for both of us and our friendship. Somehow we managed to walk away from the beginnings of a dating relationship and maintain a friendship. He watched and listened as I went through one disasterous relationship after another.

JU and I headed off to college together the fall after we graduated. I was esctatic to have him on the same campus; to be involved in this new chapter of our lives together. He started drinking really, really heavily our freshman year at Michigan State. He got involved with an influential crowd and threw everything away, was put on academic probation and then eventually told not to return for our sophomore year. I think part of it was being away from home and away from the rule of his parents. I tried to get him to curb his drinking and go to class. I'd walk out of my way to his dorm to try to get him to go with me; I'd call him to wake him up; offer to help study. None of it worked. I couldn't watch him self destruct. I began to distance myself and watch from afar.

After he got kicked out, he moved back home and went to work for a friend of my Dad's (who is another dairy farmer). He continued to drink. Sometime after that he got into construction work and moved in with some woman. They had a kid but never got married. He seemed to get himself back on track and was doing alright. I talked to him a couple of times after we moved to Utah.

JU has since split with his girl, moved back home with his parents and has gone back to work for that friend of my Dad's. From what I can gather he's not drinking anymore.

Emotionally, I'm so drained right now from the stress of my job (which hasn't all been disclosed here, but let's just say last week was UGLY) I don't know if I can open the door right now. I think that is where some of the guilt lies. I feel like I should reach out but don't know if I have the strength to do so.


Jessica said...

Sometimes when we see friends struggle, the first inclination is to step in and help. I think that is true for any situation where you feel you can help. Ultimately, it's up to you to do what you think is best for you, but I wouldn't feel guilty about the situation. Take some time to think about what you expect out of contacting him. I guess you won't know unless you do talk to him. He might be at the point where he doesn't want to hear anything or maybe he's on the other side of the spectrum and it'd be helpful to hear a friendly voice. Either way, don't let it tear at you. Sometimes people have to make mistakes to learn from them, and maybe he's getting things back together and has learned from his past.

You will figure it out. After the week you had last week, just take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that you get to take some time to spend with your family and then maybe in a few days/weeks/whatever...you'll be able to come to a conclusion about this.


peter said...

I would have said something like what Jessica said, but she said it really well so I just want second it. And guilt is the last reason you should try to restart the friendship... But of course, it's easy to say don't feel guilty, it's hard to actually not feel guilty.

Love ya babe, you'll figure it out.


JWZ1978 said...

Guilt is the last thing you should feel my dear. Even with you (and others) trying to help him make the steps to succeed, he wasn't ready to do that, and in his way, distanced himself from his friends. He made those choices, whatever the reason. Don't put any blame on yourself for the results and distance that his choices caused. Plant girl of all people should know that a seed needs time to grow. ;) You've already planted the seed of reaching out by talking to his family. Over the next few weeks, as your life gets closer to the new normal, it will be easier to think about those next steps, whatever they might be.