Prior to my getting sick I figure skated for several years. I had done it as a kid and passed a couple of tests but gave it up in my teens. After a being rear ended twice and spending a year on the couch as a result I was pretty out of shape. I decided that I needed exercise and I wanted to do something fun. I had already been doing water yoga to help with my recovery and I knew it was time to step it up a notch. I found a figure skating class for adults and joined up.
Turns out the teacher was a serious figure skater who, back in the day, competed at the national level and had been coached by one of the big guns back in the sixties, i.e. she was an awesome coach. I got hooked. I went to Lake Placid to see my Mum compete in Adult Nationals and while there saw the other women competing at bronze level and walked away with a new goal; I wanted to compete. I knew I could do it. I knew I could skate that well. I went back to my coach and started training. I needed to pass four tests before I could compete at nationals and also get some experience in the local competitions.
I skated at four different ice rinks but mostly with two clubs, one of which was small enough to get to know me. Since that was the club with the adult class, I made friends there. Four of us formed a small group. We were the adults that kept coming back. The ones that wouldn't quit even though it was hard. We became friends. We were a disparate group; I was the oldest, then a man that used to work at the same lab as me, and two younger professional women in their late twenties. We went to local ice shows together. We went to competitions together to support each other. We were eventually asked to perform in the ice club show. I came up with the idea of doing Bali Hai to the old Frank Sinatra number. I made the costumes and recorded the music. We had great fun.
After I got sick, I stayed in occasional touch with each of them. I went to the Christmas shows and the club's end of year exhibition to watch them skate and visit with them and my coach. It has been two and half years since I skated with them. It has been two and a half years since getting sick. The emails have tapered off. I haven't heard from one of the girls for almost a year even though she now lives in the same town as me and is friends with me on Facebook. The other girl had two children so she is busy with her family. I still hear from her once in a while but she isn't skating right now. The guy sends me email a couple of times a year to check up on me.
Well today I found out that the club's holiday show was this evening. No one told me about it. No one asked if I was coming to watch it. Not one single email letting me know it was happening. I have been forgotten. They have moved on. Since I no longer skate with them, they are gone. I am so very sad. I keep crying. Not that they were close friends, we only had skating in common. But we had gone places together, gone out to eat together, gone to shows together and supported each other in competitions. I thought the ties would last longer. I didn't think they were that fragile. But they are almost completely gone. I can't quite let go completely. I still hold out hope that I'll return to the ice in a couple of years. I'm crossing my fingers that my coach will still be teaching. How will I treat them when I see them again? How will they treat me? I think I'm going to be really angry when I get back out in the real world. Really pissed off at the people that abandoned me when I was sick. What kind of friends do that? How had this become acceptable in this society? I'm hurting. The emotional hurts cut far deeper than the physical illness ever could.