What I mean is that I have become an expert on what it means to have - ie. receive, friendship. How can you not, when life throws the book at you? You NEED folks to hold you, catch you, console you as the proverbial walls come tumbling down. Friendship is a healing tonic; it can provide so many physical, mental, and soulful benefits. There is nothing like it. A friend who finishes a sentence, catches your eye at just such a moment, or physically provides sustenance. Food, a G/T, a hug. I am amazed by the way you love me.
I first encountered "the good friend" - the one who does not walk away when crisis hits - in 1994. Previous to this, there were people I spent a lot of time with, and joked, lived, ate, drank, shared with etc. But a significant bond forming? Not so much. Maybe one- Rebecca, still with me, 34 years later. In 1994, while I was working on my MA thesis and drinking too much brandy, smoking too many cigars and listening to far too much Nina Simone - a dear lovely friend chose not to keep up with the keeping on part.
He left us all standing, paralyzed, shell-shocked, in the crater he left behind with his rifle. We pulled tightly together, dazed by such audacity, bravery, hubris - to leave us, his friends. But bonds were formed which have resurfaced. Friendships like that don't go away, they just ebb and flow. Sometimes for 20 years. The long haul approach. I know some of them are at the preriphery of this, my new life, and I love them for that. Their watching, and being present with no intrusion. 1994 can still seem like yesterday, given the right music, a certain quality of winter air, and a brief recollection. And now, I have something else to compare it to.
More recently, my beloved friends have swarmed me. I am so honoured and delighted because if there was a God (I remain unconvinced, Sorry Tim), she brought these people to me. She brought me the bountiful complicated kindnesses of true friendship. People who call when theire own lives are frantic, drop by, pick me up; so many many things people do for me, it boggles the mind.
My life is so rich with friends, i would make all those Facebook BFFs super jealous. I know who to call for any particular given situation throughout this state of being- and any incarnation of it therein; someone will provide me with the following loving endorsements:
- listen to the snot-filled crying jag at any hour,
- take my kids to play, rest, eat, at the drop of a hat,
- make fun of me in the best possible way in order to make me laugh,
- cook for me, or bring my favourite food
- clean or pay others to do it too so I don't have to,
- take my wig to New York,
- allow themselves to be photographed in my wig
- clean glitter off my floors,
- call my medical team for me,
- yell at me across the schoolyard,
- send me flowers just because,
- knit me hats or cowls, or hoodies,
- send me mail - jam, cards, vintage post cards
- bottle fresh NB lobster for me
- check in on the phone, even though I never answer,
- send me pizza gift cards from across the continent, cos she aint here to cook,
- buy me socks, body cream, or socks with body cream in them, lotions, potions, candles, creams
- share their stamp / coin collections with me enthusiastically
- send me chocolates and wine, cos eventually i will be able to consume them (gone!)
- send me heart emoticons on facebook or invitations to play farmville or whatever
- drive me to doctors appointments
- plan pedicures, even though my nails might fall off into the bath water -eeeeeek
- smile at me every chance
- provide me with alternatives for pain relief and nausea meds
- hug me from behind, when unexpected
- compliment me on my hat (!)
- take me to coffee and a trip to Value Village
- help me when i cannot think of a word that is so keenly obvious
- invite me to BOXFIT to kill cancer, so i can watch and feel inspired
Frienship is the glue that holds a person together - like a broken doll. Not very profound, but very real. There are levels - and all have value. You never know what you will need at any given time, and there is usually a solution for each individual problem presented, given the right mix.