This last month has been extremely difficult since my husband became so sick I had to send him to the Holland Hospice House for care. Paul is slowly getting back on his feet and I’m looking forward to bringing him home with hospice care later this week. But as I think back on how I survived these past few weeks, what strikes me most is how I could not have done it without my friends and family.

My sisters were there for me. They called to offer emotional support. Jan flew in and sat in ICU with me for hours at a time. She rearranged her schedule and stayed longer than she’d planned. Linda offered to come up from Florida if I needed her; no easy feat since she’s sick herself. Mary came over and drove me to the airport to pick Jan up. She came back to visit and let me talk about my frustrations and fears. Bette was there every time I called her to lend a shoulder for me to cry on. Kelly shot me emails just to let me know she was thinking of me. Andrea left little encouraging messages on my Facebook page. Sally mourned with me and shared her grief. And Bev was there asking what she could do to help even though she’s been so sick she could hardly get out of bed.

It’s amazing what friends can do. And that doesn’t even begin to mention all the people that sent their comments to me through email! It all made me think about the importance of good friends.

Friendships take some effort too. There are times I think they care too much, and I may feel a bit claustrophobic when they crowd me. I tend to be quite a private individual who likes her space. But, there is something to knowing that when I fall flat on my face, there are people around me who will gallop to my side, help me back on my feet, dust me off and send me on my way again. And all with no expectation of any repayment except that I do the same for them when and if needed.

Friendships take work. Really, they do! You have to put up with people sometimes when you want to be alone, or remind them that you have boundaries. But when we do that gently and remembering that they were there when we needed them in the past, they can be a lifeline in difficult situations. My friends are solid gold. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. Yes, it can take some effort on my part. But, I have to tell you, they are worth every bit of it!


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