Tuesday, 30 December 2008
The Importance of Friends
Akelamalu has very kindly nominated me for this Friends award which is lovely and very touching. As far as I am concerned, I hope that everyone that reads this blog is – or will become - a friend – so please take this award and pass it on to whomever you think fit. We can never overestimate the importance of friends.
This came to mind over Christmas when I heard that an old friend of mine who was discovered to have a brain tumour a few months ago, had a scan before Christmas. The news isn't good. He has about four weeks. As I don't want this post to be a real dampener, I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that his personality has changed (because of the tumour) and as a result his partner is having a really bad time of it all.
She is a very gutsy lady who always goes out of her way to help others. She is gregarious, eccentric and caring, and they'd just moved house so they could spend more time together – and now this. All plans tumbled like a pack of cards.
I know she has a lot of friends who will help her through this terrible time. Family will of course as well, but family have their own responsibilities and often live far away. It's friends who are there. When you've been holding it all together and the smallest thing – like stubbing your toe – can release an outpouring of frustration, guilt, loneliness or fear. Or all of those.
It's then that I value my friends most. To be able to pick up the phone and say, in wobbly voice, “can I come round?” or “how about meeting for a drink? In five minutes?” And hearing that soothing voice the other end of the phone saying, “Yes of course, I'll be there in five minutes.”
And oh, the relief of letting it all spill out. Tears of joy or worry; actually voicing those fears that kept you awake all night and now, when exposed to the open air and a kindly friend, suddenly lose their terror. You find you can accept them; laugh over them perhaps.
And you part, later, awash with tea or wine and the best feeling of all. That warm, glowing feeling (no, not the one after sex!) but a quieter, more solid sensation that has its feet on the ground. It is steadying and precious and available to us all to be shared.
Years ago,when I moved to Falmouth and bemoaned leaving all my friends behind, my dear friend Av said, “When you share a problem with someone, that's when they become a friend.”
It hadn't occurred to me until she said it, and of course how right she is.
So in honour of all our friends, and to those especially in need, please pass this post on.