What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Laurie Ward.

You know who you are, there’s no need for the formal “Dear….”

And yet it seems so weird to see former right next forever, but that’s where our journey has left us. Fortunately, unlike broken relationships of a romantic form, perhaps our relationship isn’t broken, it has just morphed.

There are times when I want to reach out to you, to invite you to visit, to set up a phone date, and then I play the scenario beyond that connection and realize that we’re past that. I’d have your back in a heartbeat in a life-altering scenario and I know you’d still have mine, but for day-to-day, I think our time has come and gone.

I accept responsibility for the part I played in what ultimately led to our not being BFFs anymore; and I hope you do as well. There was never malice on my part, never an intention to hurt you or disappoint you, but I do recognize that I wasn’t as thoughtful or attentive to your needs during a family crisis as I could have been. Those are the times, when I recognize my failings, that I want to reach out. And then I remember the words you wrote on my Facebook page or in an email or said to me in person more times than I could count, something to the effect of …”you’re a much better friend to me than I am to you, what did I do to get you in my life?” — and I wonder if you really meant that. Did you think of me as so perfect of a friend that I wasn’t allowed a failing of any kind?

I look at your Facebook page from time to time, but I have you hidden from my feed. Not out of malice and it’s not that I’m not interested in knowing what is happening in your life, but it was more for self-preservation when I realized that our relationship was fractured, even before I realized it was permanently altered. It was painful to see you still laughing and smiling and doing things with other people that I knew nothing of, had heard nothing of the planning. I was replaced. I was obsolete.

And while you were kind and reached out to me with a text within minutes of me posting that I had to put my cat down, I still have no idea when you had to put your dog down. I only know that she is gone. And part of me is afraid to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, how much I loved that crazy girl of yours. Afraid of my own failings for not being there for you, even though our relationship was forever altered at that point.

I am not bitter. I am not angry. I am sad, from time to time. But mostly, I am happy. I am happy that at one time you were my best friend. I am happy that I had you in my life to share some of the greatest and some of the most traumatic experiences in both of our lives. I am happy when I share stories of some of the crazy things we did, and still refer to you as “my best friend from…” Because life experiences have taught me that that you can have more than one best friend, and in my life, they are defined by the cities I’ve lived in.

I do miss you. And I am happy when I see you’ve liked a picture of mine on Facebook, or I find something that I know you would like and can share it with you via social media. Maybe someday our paths will cross beyond the internet and we can move past this and morph our relationship again, and maybe they won’t. I’m thankful for the role you played in my life. I hope you are happy.