There are times when friends, family members or colleagues who have accompanied you on your journey must fall away, as you each pursue different paths, routes, and destinies. Their departure may be because they no longer recognize who you have become, or sometimes it's because their role in your life, and yours in theirs, is complete. In other cases, the reason for the connection was always rooted in some sort of conflict, trauma, or pain, and the relationship was the symptom of something to be healed; once healed, the relationship ends.
However clear the reasons may be, knowing them does not always make it less painful. It is especially hard in those early moments, when the separation is almost unconscious, when the phone calls become less frequent and the interactions on social media more sporadic. It becomes even more painful still when you try to initiate contact, only to feel coolness where there was once warmth, or feel the distance growing even when you're sitting across from each other sipping coffee. All you can do is continue to hold them in your heart even if you know that they will no longer be in your life in the same way.
What draws out the pain, though, is trying to bring along those friends who no longer wish to walk alongside you. And so you have the choice to remain with them, and abandon your own path, or to choose to be who you truly are, and let them go their way. And yet there is, of course, no choice. Otherwise, it feels like picking up a dead and discarded skin you have molted and shed and trying to pull it back over so that they might love a version of you that no longer exists. You can wear it as long as you can, until the discomfort is greater than the pain of saying goodbye.