Is "gradually" a good adverb for the structure of "kept" + "verb ing" to show that something has occurred in a continuous and gradual manner? I wonder whether it is somehow unnatural.
1 After he went abroad, we kept losing contact gradually until our friendship tie got broken completely.
Or is it more natural to avoid this structure and simple say:
2 After he went abroad, we lost contact gradually until our friendship tie got broken completely.
If "kept" + "verb ing" + "gradually" is not a good combination, I appreciate it if you could suggest any other alternative sentences and structures for it.