Have you ever had someone you cared about abruptly leave your life without any understanding as to why or “ghosted” you, as it’s often referred to in today’s terms by a loved one who suddenly disappears and leaves you wondering if or what you did wrong with no real semblance of closure?
I recently went through this with someone I at first was merely a Facebook friend with. Over time though, we got to know each other much better, going from acquaintances to close friends. While we never did meet in person given him living several hundred miles from where I reside, we did speak frequently via text, phone and Facebook video for almost a year. I was most drawn to his career path, as he had been a pastor for over three decades of his life and often had a number of conversations with him that were quite deep involving God. I was grateful for each of them, as most of the friends I’ve had in life don’t have much of an interest in regularly discussing religious or spiritual types of things.
Nevertheless, when I contracted COVID in the beginning of 2021, I never heard from my friend whatsoever, which left me real surprised. Once I began feeling well, we would speak only twice more, on two separate Sunday evenings, where I truly thought each of those conversations went well as always. One of the things he consistently told me was how much I got him to think about life in different ways from the norm and was grateful for that. But when it came time to talk on the subsequent Sunday after our last chat, he didn’t answer his phone. The next day I’d receive a very brief email void of any real connection or emotion that simply said “he was going through something dark that he didn’t want to discuss with me and was only going to focus on his career and studies until he felt better and that he’d contact me once he re-emerged back into the land of the living.”
At first, I accepted his email at face value and responded briefly by saying I’d be praying for him and looked forward to him reaching back out when he felt better. Over the course of the next few weeks though, he continued to post things on Facebook and communicating with others on there, including expressions of humor that really didn’t seem to appear as if he was in a dark place at all. I totally began to question if his email hadn’t been the real truth.
I finally opted to email him after almost a month had gone by without any communication and asked for reconnection or closure. Honestly, it had been kind of painful watching him connect with a number of others on his Facebook timeline, but never once reaching out to me in any fashion. In that email, I’d let him know I missed chatting with him but also asked if we could reconnect and talk about what was really going on, as friends are meant to share in each other’s burdens like he and I had already done thus far. I mentioned as well that if he didn’t want to connect anymore with me to please just let me know so that I could have some type of closure. I waited a full week after that, but never got any response, which is when I realized that sometimes in life we have to create our own closure when we aren’t given any, so I did.
A full five weeks from the last time we had spoken, I emailed him a final heartfelt letter essentially saying that while I didn’t understand his complete silence with me, I accepted it and needed to create closure for myself. I said goodbye in a loving way and let him know I wished his ministry and life well and then finished in saying to please reach out if he ever wanted to connect again. I then unfriended him on Facebook and went on with my day feeling much better.
In the past, I’ve waited around indefinitely when things like this have happened, only to leave me feeling angry, hurt, and resentful, always wondering if I did something wrong. Creating closure for myself this time around seems to have prevented this from happening, of which I’m very grateful. It’s not only helped me to move on, but also accept it was his stuff and not mine and his loss in the end.
Personally, I live by a strong integrity and accountability today and I’d never do what he did to me to another, especially someone I love or grown to really care about. I tend to believe that we all deserve some sort of closure when a close connection comes to an end, but often we aren’t given that, so I’ve learned it’s up to us to either continuing living in pain and resentment, or to create closure ourselves and move on, which I’m thankful to report now I was finally able to do the latter.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson