Part seven in a series: I am thankful for my friends

I am thankful for my friends

Friendship can be such an intangible thing. It is the warmth that surrounds you when someone you care about is around. It is the spark that ignites when you realize you have things in common with another. Friendship is the security of confiding in someone you trust or the comfort in knowing a person is always there for you. When I was in the hospital sick and at home recovering from surgery, I felt friendship everywhere:

It lived in the cards and flowers that filled my room and the funny pictures my friends drew me.

It was found in a visit from a friend who, after getting a desperate email from me the day I found out I might be facing surgery, drove across town on her lunch break to show me her ostomy. It was also in her long and thoughtful responses to several more frantic emails in the ensuing weeks.

It waited in a care package of chocolate and other goodies sent across the country from friends I had worked with long ago and hadn’t seen for years.

Friendship resided in the emails that poured into my inbox. Many of these messages were never returned because I was so exhausted. That didn’t matter; my friends just kept sending more.

It was found in the conversations I had with friends who called to cheer me up, or left in voice mail messages when I couldn’t answer the phone because: A) I was sleeping, B) I was talking to a doctor or nurse, C) I was in the bathroom, or D) I was sleeping some more. (Ditto on the statement above about not always returning those messages, and double ditto on my friends leaving more anyway.)

It sat in the stack of People and US Weekly magazines a friend brought me so I could laugh at the ridiculous stories and focus less on being sick.

It demonstrated itself in the bravery of my friend, who is a world-class germaphobe and hates to even touch doorknobs, taking a trip the eighth floor of the hospital to see me. Twice. And she even ate dinner with me in the common area in my hospital wing on one such visit.

Friendship existed in the moments when my friends understood that I was too tired to see them at all.

So yes, friendship might be intangible, but my friends made sure there were tangible signs of it everywhere to help me make it through the hard times. I am so incredibly thankful for my friends… they mean more to me than my sometimes-quiet nature would ever reveal. I don’t think I could have made it through all this without them.

Purposely missing from this post is a mention of the friends who I may not have met in person, but have developed lasting friendships with online. Stay tuned…

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