From the other end of the phone call, I heard the words I’d been dreading. “She’s not doing well. You should come home.” Just three weeks before my wedding date, I was summoned home because my mom had taken a turn for the worse.
I made it home the night before Halloween. She and I looked through the latest wedding gifts that had been delivered. On Halloween day we talked about last minute wedding plans, about some cookies she thought I should order for the wedding party. She passed away two days later. It wasn’t unexpected after a lengthy battle with cancer, but that didn’t lessen the grief. It didn’t make the next three weeks any easier to face.
As I stayed in my hometown over the next few weeks to bury my mother, comfort my dad and then, through the grief, finalize plans for our wedding, I learned the true meaning of friendship. Two of my best friends came and stayed with me through much of those weeks and showed love in just the ways I needed. In those weeks they taught me what it is to be a true friend.
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I’ve been friends with these women my entire life. One I’ve known since we were infants in the church nursery and the other I met in kindergarten. We’ve been best of friends ever since. Sure, we’ve had a falling out or two, lost touch for some months or years along the way, and haven’t lived in the same town since high school, but they’re still the ones I count as my closest, dearest friends.
These are the friends I’ve done life with. We know each others’ families. I’ve spent time in their homes and they in mine (probably in most of the homes we’ve each lived in). We know what each other look like without makeup. We’ve been there through the joys, heartbreaks, struggles, triumphs, weddings, births, and now funerals. These women know me better than I probably know myself.
One dropped everything and came home to be with me. She sat and cried with me when all I could do was cry. Then she sat with me in silence when I couldn’t manage words, but had cried all the tears I could cry that day. She drove all over town with me running last minute wedding errands, taking care of all the details Mom spent her last days reminding me about.
The other came on the weekends and shared her stories of my mom. She’s always been my memory and took me back to so many wonderful moments that made us smile through the tears. One day when I just couldn’t cry anymore, she took me to a funny movie and allowed me the escape and release to laugh hysterically for a couple hours.
These friends were by my side the day we buried my mother, then stood next to me in my wedding a few short weeks later.
Friendship has so many levels. We have acquaintances and casual friendships. I love those too and they have their place, but we need these deep friendships in our lives. We need friends who know us intimately and love us deeply. Friends who will drop everything to be there in our time of need and who will celebrate joyfully with us in our triumphs. People who know the real, unmasked us. Friends who know the skeletons we hide in our closets, the fears that drive us, and the signs we need encouragement and prayer.
Even though mine have been life-long friends, it’s not the number of years you’ve known someone that makes the friendship deep. It’s doing life together, going beyond the surface with each other and becoming vulnerable to share your hearts with each other. True friends are those with whom we’ve taken the time to share our real, unmasked selves and yet love us still.True friends are those who know our unmasked selves and yet love us still. Click To Tweet
What deep friendships do you have? With whom are you sharing life and opening up your true self? How are you developing new friendships and supporting those closest to you?
What a lovely story about your friends, Kathryn. I have two women I met in college, and we’ve stuck together through the years. Our birthdays are the same week in May, and whenever we’re all in Austin in May –which happens about every two years– we celebrate together. I live in Turkey, but we e-mail, occasionally talk, and see each other when we can. I have a close Turkish sister too, whom I’ve known about 12 years. She’s like family, so important when you’re living away from home. Well, this comment is getting to be post-length, but you hit a nerve with me today. I’m so grateful for my friends!
Something about the end of the school year makes me nostalgic. Aren’t these kind of friends the best? The ones you may not see all the time, but easily fall into old times with no matter how long its been since you’ve seen them? Funny – my friends are also in Austin 🙂 I am so grateful for these women, too – friends like this don’t come along every day.
Beth Willis Miller says
Kathryn, I so agree with you about true friendships…what a difference they make in our lives…many blessings to you ❤️
Friends of all shapes and sizes are important, but these two have been extra-special to me for so many years.
Dawn Boyer says
The doing life together, friends…the ones who pray with you, speak truth to you and see the best in you when you are at your worst. Not just doing life, but LIVING life together and growing in Grace together. I have a few of those, and a few scars from the ones who left that I thought were those lifelong friends. Even with the scars I embrace the gift their living left.
I love authentic and deep friendships, it’s so needed in a woman’s life! I appreciate you linking it up with us at Grace & Truth!