I remember the day I met my best friend. We were only three or four years old, happily playing in our brand new school. We were drawn to each other. We swapped toys and played together in the sand pit. We’ve been joined at the hip ever since. We went to university in the same city. We still live a ten minute walk from each other. We text every day and go to the gym together, where we complain about our lives and laugh at our misfortunes.

Things changed a while back. My best friend and I both found our partners at around the same time when we were in college. We’ve been in happy relationships for four years. Then, all of a sudden, my best friend was in bits over the phone, telling me that the relationship she thought was going well had suddenly just ended.

I’ve seen break ups before. My sister’s breakup a few years back was hard enough – she was dating one of my best friends. But I never got endless texts from her expressing her pain. She was half way across the country and happy to hide her feelings from the world. I’ve been in unrequited love, and know how much that can hurt. I’ve split from a guy after a year and felt nothing, but relief. But I have never watched a friend fall apart the way that she did – because the break up wasn’t her choice at all. She was happy, and the thought of it being over broke her into tiny pieces.

It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I watched someone so strong, confident and happy cry endless tears, and inflict self- hate, and tremble as I held her. I watched her become a ghost of her former self. She had no self-belief, or confidence, or anything left to hold on to. And I felt every emotion with her, because when you’ve been friends with someone for so long, it’s almost as though you’re a part of them. You channel every emotion, every tear, every break down. Their pain is yours to bear too, and I spent a lot of time mourning right alongside her.

When looking for silver linings, it can be hard when all you see are grey clouds. But when your best friend’s heart breaks, you have to be the strong one and look for the light for them. I spent days researching on the internet how to recover from a bad break up. We baked brownies and watched TV together until I finally began to see her smiling again. We planned trips and days out and respites from reality to make her see that there’s more to life than wallowing in heartbreak. Her heart was still broken. But having the support of her friends there allowed her to slowly begin the healing process.

It takes a long time to recover from a broken heart. I still hurt a little each time I see my ex, and we’ve been apart for five years. He wasn’t the love of my life, but my best friend lost hers. I don’t know whether she will ever fully get over what she lost. But my best friend can be certain of one thing – I will be there to pick up the pieces any time she needs me to.

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