Monday, February 14, 2011

The Healing Power of Friends

Christina's mom sent me a message on Facebook this morning.  Chatty, news-filled, information sharing and lovely, it put a giant smile on my face which caused water to drip out the corner of my mouth as I was drinking.  Note to self : stop smiling before drinking.  But the dribs and drabs on my t-shirt are nothing but reminders of her caring nature and the strength of our friendship; there's not a bit of rancor in the 6 paragraphs she found the time and energy to type.  There are many remarkable people in this world; she and her husband are at the top of my list these days.

My wounded leg decided to become rashy and swollen and hot yesterday afternoon, and my current SuziSitter. Heidi, knew that I should call the ER and check it out.  "Come on down" was their recommendation so we piled into the car, called TBG and told him to meet us there, and off we went.  She's used to driving in upstate New York where, apparently, there are no other cars on the road and those that are there are going even more slowly than she is.  But, over the week she's been here, she's progressed from driving like my grandmother to driving like a snowbird and she's much more comfortable changing lanes and turning left across 4 lanes of traffic.  We were at the ER/Trauma Center in no time.  She rubbed my arm and spoke in calm and soothing tones, masking her distaste for driving in our "big city" all the while.  When the wait to be seen began to take its toll on my achy hip and leg, she was right there, glaring at the desk clerk who couldn't seem to get her head around the fact that I was in agony and could not sit for one more minute.  Luckily, one of the Emergency Room doctors recognized me ("You look much better than last time I saw you!") and we were ushered into a room within seconds.  All the while, Heidi was there, tending to TBG's discomfort at revisiting the waiting room and monitoring my leg and my emotions.  We've been friends for 41 years; she's as wonderful now as she was back in Ithaca. 

The weekend got even better, friendship-wise.  MTF is dealing with yet another horrific tragedy, cleaning up the mess of another person's life with kindness and thoughtfulness and a dedication to detail that puts her in an elite class of humans.  There were scraps of paper and emotional detritus strewn all over a landscape of crumminess and yet there she was, purposeful and organized and doing what needed to be done.  The fact that she was surrounded by fools and incompetents just made her work harder; what needed to be done was done, and she still took the time to send me an upbeat email describing the scene and wondering about my well-being.  She's a keeper, that's for sure.

My newest friend in the neighborhood, JenniJazz, dropped off pasta last night, and brought her handsome husband to meet mine.  I love women who take the initiative and make things happen - she's brought me lunch and stayed just long enough, she sat with me early one Sunday morning so TBG could make an airport run, she's told me funny stories and shared her perspective on my burgeoning spirituality and through it all she's never been more intrusive than my walls have allowed.  Tragedy has brought many things to my doorstep; her friendship is one of the most wonderful ones.

And then there was the knock on the door this morning - a friend of a friend delivering a Valentine's Day balloon and a hand inscribed heart cookie with my name in white frosting.  I don't know her and she didn't know me, yet there she was, bringing goodies filled with love.  She asked for a hug and how could I refuse?  I'm not sure what kind of special power my hugs have, but lots of people are asking for them lately.  It seems the least I can do to say yes.

Valentine's Day is one of those holidays which carry high expectations and leave dashed hopes in their wake.  People need to have a date .... people hide in their apartments, avoiding the whole scene ... people spend too much money on dinners and jewelry .... there's a pressure to feel the love that is overwhelming and somewhat tacky to my eye.  For many years, TBG wrote me a poem on Valentine's Day, recapping our year and pledging fealty and love.  Once we moved to Tucson, that tradition was replaced by a trip to J Gilbert where cowboy boots were purchased.  This year, my non-weight-bearing self can't try on the works of art in which one walks and poetry is beyond anyone's capabilities.  Instead, we'll sit on Douglas, the world's 2nd most comfortable couch*, and recognize the fact that we are alive, watching the sunshine and the blue skies and each other.

He's my bestest friend, my most intense friend, and I'm glad that he is here.

*Not-Kathy reminded me that there was a more comfortable couch in my life once before.  It's a good prompt for a post and the story will be told soon.  For now, I had to amend Douglas's appellation for the sake of accuracy.... Not-Kathy is a good friend, too, and I can't run the risk of annoying her.


  1. I'll be checking back anxiously this week to monitor your leg. Meanwhile, please thank your new friends for me, too.

    "Burgeoning spirituality" sounds likes lots of great posts in the future.

    Happy V-Day to TBG! I'm guessing he knows what a lucky fella he is.

  2. I, too, am very interested in this Burgeoning Spirituality. Especially since it appears to involve hugging and chatty emails and cookies and love poems and cowboy boots.

  3. And what was the report on your leg?

    For my "best friend" and me, Valentine's Day will consist of a home cooked salmon dinner, and sitting in our side by side recliners watching our favorite shows on Monday night TV.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

  4. I was going to ask too about your leg. Is everything alright?

    And today's blog entry is so upbeat. Friends can do that. So glad you are surrounded by such loving people. That will help you heal. The power of friendship is amazing.

    Megan xxx

  5. I hope your leg is getting better. The Green family as if you did not know is an exceptional family and I would cherish their friendship forever. The more I read from afar about John and Roxanna Green and little Dallas the more I believe how special they are. I am beginning to understand how thoughtful the Green's deeds are and how any person can make a positive contribution to our country just by doing little things to help the less fortune or someone in need. I know I am very blessed to have a second chance at life through an semi-anonymous (I do not know the last name of my donor family's name although I know all their first names including my donor David because of a note which his parents wrote me after I got David's donated heart.) A loving note which my donor family did not have to write me but his family wanted me to know how special David was to them as a son,a brother, and a father. They wanted me to make sure I took care of my new heart. Just like the Green family has expressed a desire to meet Christina's donor families so have I because I would hug the heck out of my donor family. I do not know if this will ever happen but I can always hope one day it will happen. There are great people in our country such as the Green family along with the thousands of other donor families who want to make sure some people get a second chance at life. I know I would not be here today if there were not people like the Greens and other donor families out there. I am a very blessed person and some day I will know the reason why I was giving a second chance at life by God.
    Sending positive vibes for a quick recovery A/B. God Bless you, TBG, and especially the Green family. Also, Happy Valentines Day to U and TBG.


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