Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On friends

Oh, you got to have friends,
the feeling's oh so strong.
You got to have friends
to make that day last long.
Had some friends, but they're gone,
somethin' came and took them away,
and from the dusk 'til the dawn
here's where I will stay.
Standing at the end of the road, boys,
waitin' for my new friends to come.
I don't care if I'm hungry or cold, freezing.
I got to get me some.

~Friends, from Bette Midler's The Divine Miss M

Part of me is jumping up and down inside, squealing in delight, still feeling the hugs from yesterday, all excited and hopeful. One of my oldest and dearest friends may be moving near here! Another part of me is sad, prayerful, concerned. The mother of another one of my closest friends died Sunday on Mother's Day, after having been in a coma for a couple of months. Her last spoken words to her daughter were "I want to live," and for months, my friend has been doing everything she possibly could to stimulate her mother from her coma, working all day, spending hours each night in her mother's hospital room in another city. She's driven herself to exhaustion, and I'm deeply concerned. I've also never known anyone with the faith of my friend, and I know that God is holding her gently now, giving her strength and surrounding her with grace.

My two S's, because I won't reveal names here. Oh, I love them so.

I met S. #1 my first week in college. It was freshman orientation week and sorority rush. S. was this tiny, vivacious blonde with sparkling blue eyes, a sexy, husky speaking voice, and one of the best singing voices I've ever heard. (She's the only female tenor in her city's symphony choir.) One of the most naturally sexy women I've ever known, in the days when everyone was wearing khakis and button downs, she was striding about in silky, drapy clothing and two tons of sparkly stuff and pulling it off. Within days, it seemed like everybody on campus knew her and loved her. I towered over her, shy, gawky, bookish, a bit goofy. There we were, Mutt and Jeff. We pledged the same sorority. I met my husband in her apartment when he was studying with her roommates. We lived together for awhile. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. We each felt the heart beat in each other's pregnant belly. We've held each other's babies, rejoiced over their triumphs and cried together over their heartaches. We watched our bodies change over time. Her natural leanness changed because of pregnancy and illness. Yesterday, when I saw her for the first time in a year, the first time since she had bariatric surgery, she was about the same size as when we met but more sophisticated than ever. She was thrilled to see me so much smaller than I've been in years. Oh, we hugged for minutes, not able to let each other go. We've known and loved each other for 29 years. It doesn't seem possible, and it's the most natural thing in the world.

S#2. My other closest friend. We've worked together for a dozen years, known each other nearly twenty. Outside of our families, I doubt if there is anyone either one of us has spent more time with than each other. We're the kind of friends who don't think twice about loaning each other money or responding yes to a favor without asking what it is. There is almost nothing in my adult life that she hasn't been part of. She constantly inspires me and encourages me. We've both left the comfort of our homes in the middle of the night to go help each other. She is a second mother to my daughter, and if I die before C. is grown, she will handle the job of mothering for me. One of the strongest, sharpest businesswomen I've ever met, she's also constantly motivating and empowering other people to become their best selves. I don't think I've ever known anybody else who saw people so clearly for all their flaws and weaknesses and still believed in them so much. I honestly know hundreds of people this beautiful woman has helped. Today, she is headed to her old hometown to complete the burial arrangements for her mother. Yesterday while waiting for my other friend to arrive in town, I helped her write the obituary. I could tell there was a thick layer of numbness over the lurking pain, and this is one of the times when all I can do is pray, just as she did for me when my parents died.

Oh, my beautiful S's. I don't know where or even who I'd be without them in my life. I have been outrageously, tremendously blessed.



Blogger Lisa :-] said...

A lovely tribute to your friends. You are all three blessed.

May 15, 2007 10:55 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

You are two for two. Can't ask for much more.

May 15, 2007 7:14 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

Ahh, the blessings of deep, lasting friendships. :::hugs::: You are, indeed, wealthy.

May 15, 2007 7:24 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

My dearest friend is one whom I met at the age of 10. We still are there for each other no matter what. I was just at her recent wedding, only my husband and I were asked along with her son. I cannot imagine life without her.

May 15, 2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

What a beautiful mothering day story. Thank you for sharing it. So glad you have these deep, deep connections.



May 16, 2007 10:27 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friends, and what a friend you are to them. You must have them read this...and then if I were them, I'd print it out and keep it to read on those days that all of us have, when we feel down. I, too, have been blessed with wonderful friends, and life wouldn't be the same without them. I am so glad to have read this.


May 20, 2007 12:18 AM  

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