I was retelling this story to a friend I have now, and she made a wise observation by saying, "It sounds like a little Baby Club fashioned after Mean Girls."
It felt like it.
That Spring, the group of friends I had cultivated for years formed a tight circle around Kate and eventually I grew apart from all of them. Sure, I was wise enough to realize that we had already been growing apart, and that their lives had grown far more busy, as had my own. But it felt wrong to me and it always will.
Keep in mind that I was not the type of friend to not understand or respect someone else's choice. Before this break, I would often pick up the phone to call them and refrain, because I realized it was nap time or dinner time and I didn't want to interrupt. I would take into account that their finances were tighter than mine, and I was very thoughtful about inviting them to things that were either low or no-cost. I would often do things with them and their children, not expecting them to get a babysitter. I felt (and still feel) that I made thousands of accommodations for that particular group of friends, and as time went on---even before the tragedy---I often felt that they did not do the same for me.