Friday, April 24, 2009

The Joy Of Friendship

Although I'm in much better shape now, two weeks ago I was in the midst of many weeks of isolation and debilitation, when I experienced a day filled with friendship, both old and new. Now that I’m able to sit at the laptop again, I wanted to share this particular joy.

On April 7, I realized that Michelle, my oldest friend, had a birthday the next day. I was too sick to go out shopping, so I sat at the computer and made her a card covered with photos of us through the years. We’ve been friends since she was 4 and I was 5. We were moving into her neighborhood, and I was riding my little bike with training wheels along the side of the quiet street when I encountered a blond-haired girl about my age, also riding her training-wheeled bike. We were both wearing crocheted multi-colored ponchos (this was 1970!). The rest is history! We’ve been best friends ever since, through her family moving away during elementary school, our college years, jobs, and family. We live in different states now and don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, but whenever we do see each other or talk on the phone, it’s like no time has passed at all. Making her card reminded me of all those memories.

After I got Michelle’s card in the mail, I rested on the couch. At 11:45, I was thinking about lunch when the phone rang. It was Amy, one of my closest friends from my teen years and beyond – and the maid of honor at my wedding (pardon the poofy bridesmaid dress - it was the 80's) – calling to say she was a couple miles from my house visiting a client (she lives 8 hours away in my hometown)! I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen her in over a year, and there she was, at my front door, minutes later. We had lunch together, laughed about old times, and chatted about everything from our kids to books we’d been reading. What a wonderful surprise!

Later that evening, after a long nap, I met two of my closest, more recent, friends, Amy and Marti, for dinner and our book group. I had rested for two days straight so I could make it out for the evening. Of course, I paid dearly for the effort the next day, but those few hours with my friends were well worth it – such a treat after the past lonely five weeks! The three of us met when our three oldest sons – all named James! – met in kindergarten. The 3 James are still best friends after 10 years, and our own Mom friendships have grown through the years, too. We all love the outdoors, travel, and reading, and they’ve been there for me through some of my worst times with CFS. Marti even brought dinner over yesterday, when she heard that Ken was out of town all week.

My closest friend is my mother. She knows me and understands me like no one else in the world. We love to cook together, share books, and play games – especially Scrabble! I love the rare occasions when we’re able to meet in NYC for dinner and a show.

And finally, there are all of you!! My first years with CFS were so horribly isolating and lonely. Writing this blog and meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world whose lives are so similar to mine has been uplifting and revitalizing for me. Your words of support and encouragement on my worst days – and your sharing in the joys of my better days – mean so much to me. Thank you.

Friendship is a huge source of joy in my life, even (or especially?) when I’m severely ill. I am blessed with several once-in-a-lifetime kinds of friends – some who’ve been with me through most of my life and some who’ve been by my side for the past ten years or so here in Delaware – as well as so many wonderful virtual friends. I am grateful for my friends and the joy they bring to my life.


Kerry said...

Hi Sue, Enjoyed this post both story and pics of your friendships--what amazing timing to have your friends touch base with you all at once! Living with the isolation that so often accompanies chronic illness, lasting friendships have becomes all the more precious.

What a pretty bride you were!

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks, Kerry! I thought that day filled with friends was pretty amazing, too. I lost some friends when I got sick (who obviously weren't real friends anyway). As painful as that was at the time, it made me appreciate my real, lasting friendships even more. Glad you enjoyed the post.


Toni said...

I loved your bridal pictures. I joined Facebook about a year ago so I could play Scrabble and a game called Text Twirl with my family. Since then, I've accumulated a lot of friends, most of whom I don't even know because they're friends of my grown kids. I mostly enjoy following my kids' doings via their postings.

Some people are able to use Facebook to connect with people from the past. I hope it turns out to be a rich resource for you. Enjoy!


Sue Jackson said...

Thanks, Toni.

In just 24 hours, I have already reconnected with so many friends from my teens and from college! In fact, I'm actually starting to crash from too much time on the computer, so I'm going to force myself to go lie down now - really, I am, just one more look at Facebook (ha ha - no really, I'm going!)


Renee said...

What fun for you Sue. I am on facebook but with family contacts. It is nice to see how they are doing. i will have to try HS and college friends...although we are so old I am not sure any would be online :)

Dusty Bogwrangler said...

Great post Sue. I have a friend who I met through the garden gate when I was three and she was two. There's something special about friends who have witnessed so much of one's history, and you have done the same for them. They are like walking archives! Nothing much escapes them either. Only they can say the things you don't want to hear.

So glad you are feeling better. :-)

Shelli said...

True friends are priceless. Funny, but I don't think I had any true friends before CFS. My husband was all I needed, and I hadn't lived in a place where they were readily available. Wow -- another surprise blessing from CFS!

I don't know what I would do without my CFS blog friends! I felt so lonely before reaching out to the blogosphere. It has been wonderful to get to know people and see that LIFE is possible even with this tough obstacle to face.