When I sat down to write this, I didn’t know if it was going to be a discourse on friendship, a definition of friendship or just another dejected disapproval of how I am feeling right now. You see, I had to break the news to my mother this morning, that her life-long closest friend had passed away, (although in my heart I’m sure she already knew). I had spent a lot of time thinking not only about her friendship with Margie, but about a lot of my friendships throughout my lifetime.
Partly because I am a very loyal person, I can boast friendships of nearly 50 years duration. Some people may just feel that I’m clingy that way. I have friends that I’ve rediscovered (I’ll admit I had the help of Facebook), and friends that I’ve kept all along; friends from nursery school and summer camp; friends from Junior High and High School; friends from college and summer jobs; friends from my first job fresh out of college and people that just met at my most current place of employment. I’ve even found people on Facebook who were total strangers and live in faraway places whom I consider close friends.
I can call my friend Susan, whom I see maybe twice a year, and whom I’ve known since 9th grade, and it is as if no time has passed. She lives halfway across the country but she knows me better than I know myself. I can text my maid of honor, Abbe, whom I met in college, who probably knows MORE about me than anybody else, and who also can go a year without seeing me, and pick right where we left off. I can comment on a photo or congratulate my friend Jamie on her son’s wedding, even though we haven’t heard each other’s voices in 40 years, because we went to camp together and went through a few rites of passage together. Or Sally from college, who I reconnected with after 20 years.
Then there’s Irene and Jackie… with whom we celebrate Superbowl Sunday. That’s it. Just that. And it has been that way for 16 years, since our sons all played little league together. But if any one of us needed something, the other would be there in a flash.
Or Katie and Shelly, for the Hanukah party or Andrea or Beth from pre-school or kindergarten days or Norma, Ricki and Beth, or, or, or… or the new friends I’ve made… or old neighbors. I met close friend Val playing Slingo on the internet. I think that was long before Facebook even existed!
All that I’m trying to say, is that I value each and every one of them, in their own way. As I said, I’ve been learning from my mother all my life. You should know, that mom was my very first friend, and she taught me that loyalty. You should also know that every day, I hope and pray that I will be lucky enough to have and maintain that relationship with my daughter as well.
I share the following poem on friendship because it’s so true…
Friends Who Sail Together by Mary Dawson Hughes
There are friends who pass like ships in the night,
Who meet for a moment, then sail out of sight,
With never a backward glance of regret;
Friends we know briefly, and quickly forget.
There are other friends who sail together,
Through quiet waters and stormy weather,
Helping each other through joy and through strife.
And they are the kind who give meaning to life.
Treat your friends well. Remember to tell them how you feel. Be there when they need you. Cling to them.