Throughout my life, I've encountered many, many people, some of whom I found a special connection and became friends with. Hubby says I gather friends like flowers. I like that analogy. They are all little flowers.
Over the years my friendships have evolved like the stages in my life. Friends have come and gone with changes of school, new jobs and house moves, some fading along with the memories. My children found me friends – mum’s I was in hospital with when I gave birth. Mum’s from the school gates. Their best friend’s mums. The bus stop mums. Mum’s from when I went to mum’s and toddlers groups. Other friends I’ve gathered have come from my many trips into hospital. A couple of friends were from when I did my little craft business. I’ve made friends with several people in our village. A few years ago, I joined the Purplecoo online community and I have forged some wonderful friendships with several of them. Then there are the people I’ve met in the last few years; mainly aspiring writers from writers courses – My Arvon friends, My Caerleon friends, my Blogging Friends.
I recently found my best friend from school through Facebook. It was nearly thirty years since we had been in touch and yet despite that, when I found her and we started communicating, it was as if it were just yesterday that I last saw her. Back then, we used to sneak off just away from the centre of our village to privacy of the rear of the primary school and church where there was a track through to some woods, and we would sit by a gate on a stone, sharing a cigarette and coughing together while we discussed our latest crushes or what we were going to wear to youth club the following week.
It turned out she had looked for me many times over the years. We both pledged when we found each other we would never lose touch again. Health permitting, I’d love to get over to Leeds this year to meet her and for us to spend a weekend reminiscing and giggling like silly schoolgirls again.
Some of my friends remain constant. They are my true friends. What I mean by that is I know they will be a friend for life, even if we are separated by years or miles apart. I have a handful of my dearest true friends. They care about me as much as I care about them. They really are the best friends anyone could ask for irrespective of whether I have known them ten, twenty or thirty years.
My closest friends are as different as a tin of Quality Street. One is groomed and gorgeous, (looks a bit like Julia Roberts,) constantly on the go, highly strung, analyses everything, but is practical, pragmatic and superb in a crisis. One is a tea and sympathy kind of friend, wonderful listener, serious and thoughtful. One is dippy and charming, reminds me of a red-setter how she can be all over the place. One is timid and quiet but the most selfless person you can imagine, and kind and reliable. One is ever so slightly self-absorbed but great fun and totally solid. I could guarantee if I rang her in the middle of the night, she would come to me like a shot... See what I mean about a mixed bag?
We need different friends for different things. We lean on them, or look to them for light relief, dependent on our own mood and situation. I know I can depend on them all, as they depend on me. We may not speak every day (or every week for that matter) but when we do, it will be as if we were never apart. We can be ourselves, be unguarded and open, and show our vulnerability. We are in good hands when we are in each other’s company. They love us the way we are, faults and all. We understand each other. We trust each other. Implicitly.
At this point, I'd also like to mention my friend Carmen, (I met her on Purplecoo originally.) Sadly she is no longer with us. She died on New Years Eve 2010, aged just 42. Her support, enthusiasm and zest for life will never leave me. I miss her very much.
Her darling husband Jimmy is running the London Marathon next week so if you can help even in a small way, please click on her photo to sponsor him and help him raise £5,000.
Despite all my personal problems and health problems, my true friends have stayed with me. We have laughed and cried together as we have been together through good and bad times. We are all there for each other whenever we need someone. For some of us our children have now become friends. Hopefully they too will have friends for life.
I tell my eldest son who has been with his first girlfriend for nearly a year, don’t forget your friends. As well as a romantic relationship, your friends are the most important people you will have. You never know when you might need them. But it has to be a two way thing. If you give lots of kisses and hugs. You will get many back in return. We might be lucky enough to have family we can talk to and depend on, but our friends are always there for advice, comfort and inspiration.
So there's my word for today. 'F' is for Friendship.
Until another day
Bye for now