What would I do without my girlfriends? They have always been very important, and I put considerable effort into keeping lifelong pals along with cultivating new ones as I’ve moved through my adult life.
But at no time have my friends been as vital to my well-being as the last three years. When Tom was diagnosed with brain cancer and our world fell apart, women friends (including my sister, sister in laws and cousins) swooped to help me cope. They helped me care for Tom, ushered me out for drinks and dinner, indulged me in the escapism of going to the movies and frequently assured me I was handling things well. They also advised me when asked and organized an incredible party that drew about 400 guests, helping us pay the astronomical medical bills from Tom’s cancer treatment.
A couple of these women friends tend to become closer friends during times of adversity. I hardly see them when I’m working and normal, which makes me feel a little like a charity case. But I think they feel bad for me. Heck, I’d pity me if I were someone else.
One particular friend, who retired right around the time my life started going to shit, called me every day in the early weeks when I was recuperating from heart surgery. She stopped in to open and close drawers, open jars, help with laundry and change sheets – all things that are difficult after this sort of surgery. When I mentioned I wasn’t very hungry but craved Saltines, the crackers quietly showed up on my back deck. When I was feeling low, she would pop in with her friendly dog. When I was weak and wobbly, she waited to make sure I was OK in the shower. I feel blessed to have her loyal friendship.
Then there were other friends who brought over food, took me out to dinner as I got better or just visited me for a while. My best friend from college pulled out of her busy life and stayed with me for three days, which gave us a delightful opportunity to catch up, relax and play Scrabble – she kicked my ass but I blame it on the pain meds).
And what about guy friends? I’m deficient in that area. I have a couple, whom I rarely talk to but know they are in the wings if I need something in particular. I have a couple of Tom’s good friends, who also are married to my girlfriends. But for some reason, trusty guy friends remain elusive.