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.


ChrisH said...

One of the good things about ageing is that I appreciate my friends even more - especially, as you say, when there is sad news. Here's wishing you a happy, healthy New Year.

Flowerpot said...

I quite agree, Chris. And have a wonderful New Year yourself - and a very writerly 2009!

Elaine said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. x

Lane said...

How dreadful for your friends:-(

Wise words and I agree with Chris - I've appreciated the value of friendship more as I've got older.

All the very best to you and Himself for the New Year.

Akelamalu said...

I'm so sorry about your friend m'dear. A very good friend of ours had a brain tumour and it was so sad to see him deteriorate so I feel for you and his family.

You are so right about friends - they are worth their weight in gold. xx

Debs said...

Sorry to hear about your friend's dreadful news.

I completely agree with what you say in your post, friends truly are wonderful.

Hope you have a fabulous 2009 and that it's everything you wish it to be. x

Flowerpot said...

Elaine - thanks. Have a great new year and hope you feel better soon!

Lane - and the same to you too.

Ak and Debs - too true. Here's to a happy and healthy new year to you too.

MarmiteToasty said...

So sorry to hear about your friend :(

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU dear Flowerpot..... peace, love and happieness always...


Flowerpot said...

Marmie - that's lovely - many thanks and the same to you too!

Ellee Seymour said...

Yes, here's to good friends. Long may they last.Have a very happy New Year.

Flowerpot said...

Ellee - hope you had as good a new year as I did! Doing not much but having a good time nevertheless with one of my best friends.

Philipa said...

Happy new year, FP !!

"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."

Oh so true.

Friends can make you feel like it's ok to be you. It's ok to be this miserable, to want a moan, to need to vent and still be wanted. Friends can make you feel wanted.

Or they can make you feel like you're the biggest pain in the backside. And a stubbed toe then takes on an even bigger significance as you watch their careful avoidance and awkward excuses.

I would say that difficult times are when you find out who your friends are but as a single woman I've seen 'friends' try to take advantage of my vulnerable situation. And a friend who has been widowed recently said the same; the husband of a relative became suddenly very solicitous.

My best wishes to your friend, FP, who is fortunate to have a friend like you. Best wishes for a splendid 2009.

Flowerpot said...

Phil - having been single most of my life I know just what it#s like, and in fact most of my female friends are single now, though I'm happy to say I've never been taken advantage of by husbands, and while Himself flirts gently with my friends, he only does so because he knows and they know that he's "safe". Havea wonderful 2009 and I wish you all the happiness you deserve.

roughseasinthemed said...

I've copied part of your post (leaving out the initial bit) and added a link to your blog, and then put my view.


Hope that's ok. It was a really thoughtful post, and I guess I wanted to look at it a different way.

You asked us to pass it on, but if you aren't happy, please let me know.

Friends are rare and to be cherished, I think.