Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Life Long Friends ....

..... are nourishment to the soul.

No, they are more than nourishment.  Sometimes they are truly life saving.  Truly.

I've had a difficult couple of months.  To put it mildly.
But last week I could tell that I was starting to feel better.  I could tell that the waves were ebbing back from whence they came.

And then I had the opportunity to spend one evening with some of my "sisters".  And they truly are sisters.
They all live closer to each other than I do.  So it's an "event" when we can get together.  Sometimes that means there are 5 of us, sometimes it means that there are 10 ..... or 50.
But every time, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. they make me feel nothing but loved.  Totally.  Unconditionally.  Warts and all.
We have grown up together.
We have had children together.  Some waited longer than others .... and some continued well past everyone else, but we've been together.
We have cried together.
Especially back when were were only 18 or 19 and met for the very first time.  We spent 4 or so years together and bonded.  We bonded in a way I've never experienced in any other friendship.  I love these women and would do anything for any of them.

I am the first to become widowed.
Yay for me.
I've usually enjoyed coming in first, but this time ...... yeah, you all know.
This time it sucks.

I guess one of us had to be first.  And since I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy, I certainly wouldn't wish that it had happened to one of them, rather than me.
I'm relieved that it happened to me .... and not to one of them.

It will happen to one of them.  Sooner or later.  And I'll be here.  And there.  Wherever they are .... I'll be there.
These women have known me since "before Jim".
They knew me "during dating Jim" .... which was an experience in itself.
They knew me "after becoming Mrs. Jim".
And now they've known me as "After Jim".
And they've hurt, cried, prayed and loved me more than ever.

Life long friends are more of a blessing than can be described.
They knew me "before Jim" so they don't judge the "after Janine".
Not at all.
For anything.
They just love me.
Like they've always loved me, but only more.

They are my sisters.
They've never held up expectations, judgements, conditions for friendship, or thrown the past into my face.
They have only .... always ..... loved me.

Last night my eyes were opened to all of the love radiating from each heart that surrounded me.
I thought my heart would burst from the love it was receiving.

Funny thing ... the heart.
It can be broken .... I know that without a doubt.
You can lose half of it when it's torn out of your life.
But the heart, much like the liver, can regenerate to some degree.
And last night, my heart started to regenerate.  I could actually feel it.

It will never be the same .... it can't be.  Jim was half of it.  That half is gone.
But it can grow around the empty part.
It becomes somewhat like a patchwork quilt.
Each person that loves me unconditionally leaves a patch.

My heart is pretty colorful with all of the patches covering it.

Yes, I've been hurt since Jim died.
I've been hurt by people who I thought were life-long friends.
I have been judged by those I called "friend".
There have been times when I thought my heart couldn't stand one more ounce of pain.  Especially from people who supposedly loved me.

But last night .... last night all of those patches of love covered my heart and opened my eyes.  My true friends have always been here.  Praying.  Waiting.  Loving.  And praying some more.

And now I know .... without a doubt .... where I will go when it's time to move.
I will go home.
And return to the arms, and hearts, of these friends.



  1. You are one of the first places I've read about being hurt by others you thought were lifelong friends. I've struggled with this. Not only judgement and pain, but abandonment. I know people don't know what to do, but if they ask, sometimes I can tell them, but most of the time I just need a listening ear and loving arms. Thank you.

  2. You are very lucky. I have been abandoned by people who knew me when I was married and have few friends left from before my marriage due to a variety of moves. (Also I come from a small state/town and once you leave it is nearly impossible to go back).
    I am envious.

  3. I have also been blessed with wonderful girlfriend who have stayed by me over the past two years after my husband died. But I have also been hurt by people who I thought good friends who have just disappeared. I have also been surprised by some acquaintances who have turned into rock solid friends after our tragic loss.

    I could have never predicted which people would have ended up in which category. So strange. . .

  4. Lovely post. So true about the heart, 1/2 is gone the broken part is with my Mike . Friends, some are special and priceless and some I have been so hurt with the relationship will never be the same again. My friends are now either from "before" my husbands passing or "after" only "very few" are both.

  5. so glad you have these friends in your life; and that you are starting to feel a bit better!!!!

  6. Thank you so much Janine for sharing your true feelings. I have struggled too with being hurt by those who I thought loved me, especially family members. I continue to look inwardly in an attempt to find out what I may have done to cause them to run. I can't figure it all out and have stopped trying. But you are so right in saying that your heart can't stand much more. Right there with you!!!!

    As Anon said above, I know all I "need is a listening ear and loving arms". Is that too much to ask for?