Written by Charlene Hartung


9 Comments(s)

10 Jan, 2022

My son has had a friend for over half of his life. Their relationship was always up and down and this boy had bullied my son for many years. He is physically bigger and quite intimidating to my little boy. Yet he refuses to let go of this friendship and loves this boy. 

Which makes me think a lot about my friendships over the years.
I’ve had to accept the end of a 25 year long friendship.
I’ve had my best friend die.
I have long distance friendships that have grown and grown over the years.
I’ve had fly by night friendships.
I have friends that I consider soul mates.
I have friends that I share certain experiences with. 

The end of any relationship is always painful and when you have shared years of intimate thoughts and a deep connection it makes things even more so heartbreaking. 

When my friend Rene died I was beyond devastated. She was only 26. It took me many months to get used to the idea that I will never see her again. I would wave at her every morning when I drove to work past the graveyard and still today just the thought of her brings me to tears. 

She was my person. She was my ride or die. We did everything together and for a few months we even lived together. I always imagine how different life would be if she was still around. How much fun we would have had and what a great mom and aunt and wife she would have been. Her death was so senseless and unnecessary. 

A funnier person I have never met since. Maybe my husband but he is not classified as a friend for this purpose. LOL. She was witty and we spent many many unforgettable nights out clubbing, days lounging around and talking smack besides we were young, single and enjoying life. 

Since her death I believe she has made sure I have someone with me every step of my journey. She takes care of me, she sends me friends who understand my heart and in a way it’s like she never left.

A few years ago I lost a friend I’ve known since we were in grade 5. What’s worse about a friendship ending is that it’s a choice. When someone dies, there’s nothing you can do. This is what makes a breakup so painful. For many years *Nina (not her real name) and I would not see one another but 5 minutes together and it’s like the years never passed. We had a camaraderie that you don’t find often. We were even telepathic a lot of times and our bond was beyond strong, or so I thought. 

Until a man came between us and she chose to abandon me and take her man’s side. (She supported me for years in the family drama we had and said she understood my position, but when he made her choose, she wrote me off). I cried myself to sleep for weeks. Then I became angry about the years we spent in each other’s lives, that I have given so much of myself and she left like I meant nothing to her.
It broke my heart.
I don’t think I will ever get over the demise of our friendship.

However – it did teach me many lessons.
Amongst them, I learnt that again and again she had proven to me and had shown me who she is and I chose not to see it. I learnt that when I went out of my way to do something for her, be there for her, the favour would not always be returned. 

I realised that I made excuses for her treating me shitty for many years. 

I learnt that over 25 years I served her well and that when her man, who is my blood relative by the way, felt a certain way about me, I had to take a back seat, and I was not good enough for a certain period of time. 

Unfortunately she had done that too many times and I saw our relationship exactly for what it was. Making me stupid not to move on.
The first year after the breakup I still received texts from her on birthdays but I never replied. I couldn’t reply. I was still so raw and so angry. Her loss cut me so deep.

4 years later I still get teary eyed just talking about her. 

So while there are friendships that come and go for me, there are indeed a few that have stood the test of time. High school friends. Mom-friends. Angels Rene sent me – I know exactly who they are and friendships that have just run its course. 

I can only pray that my son will never experience the intense loss of a friendship I did. My husband and I talk to him often and we do our best to reassure him that we are always there for him and that he can talk to us about anything.
In addition, I pray that he will be strong enough to always stand up for himself when he is treated poorly. 

Love, Charlie 


  1. Jenna

    Well said, so true and an eye opener at the same time.
    Teary… but Indeed a good read 👌

    • Charlene Hartung

      awe thank you Jenna for your comment.

  2. Rholene

    …dear charlsie
    I read with understanding. Completely.
    I could feel your emotions while I was reading your heart pour.
    Life is not a given. Hassle, pray, believe. Make memories in the now.
    Fond regards

    • Charlene Hartung

      aweee jy is een van my hart se mense! vir altyd! Thank you Lientjie, your friendship will always mean the world to me. a time never to be forgotten. Lotsa love,

  3. Zenneline Louw

    Beautifully written. You are so brave Charlene.

    • Charlene Hartung

      thank you very much Zen

  4. Stephano

    I think this is one of your best pieces you have written for ATC.

    • Charlene Hartung

      Thank you

  5. Cassandra

    Made me not only review my friendships but the type of friend I am.


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