The best of friends

the best of friends

I have been blessed by the best of friends, who have been there through the worst of times.

I went to an all girls’ secondary school, and there I met some of my best friends to this day.

There are a group of us – smugly called the “Lovely Ladies”, and when we are together it is easy, comfortable and feels like “home”. We snack, we chat and we laugh, and it’s never anything but absolutely brilliant. We have been together through the teenage angst, the uni years, and now into adulthood. Time passes, our lives change, but our friendships never falter. I’m sure we will all be sipping cocktails to cheesy pop when we’re in our 70s, and I simply cannot wait. We might need to rein in some of the dance moves in our later years though…

And, when the difficult times hit and mum got ill, those Lovely Ladies came into their own in different but equally important ways.

As soon as I started caring for mum, my stalwart (and pregnant) bestie, drove 5 hours across the country to see me, bringing her toddler and pup along for the ride. And she did all of that for a coffee and a catch up, but I’m sure it was to check I was doing okay. I was so grateful for the few hours of normality, laughs and “home”, when I needed it the most. We both have busy lives, text sporadically and only see each other a few times a year – but when we do, we just carry on as if no time has passed at all.

When you’re going through something completely life changing, I don’t think you expect a miraculous life changing call or text from a friend. It’s about the small things, the consistent check-ins. It may sound selfish, but I just needed the easy interactions that kept me feeling like “me”. All it took was a message or a coffee to recalibrate my otherwise frazzled brain.

I loved receiving happy messages, and silly voice notes – it was such a welcome distraction. A couple of my friends are experts at this, and never fail to keep on top of messages (even when I am useless and inadvertently “ghost” them for days at a time).

But the best thing of all? Talking about anything other than what was going on in my life. I needed escapism and levity – and boy did they deliver. Their humour, care and support kept me going in the dark times, and made me smile in the good ones – ILYYY!

There were some pals who sent care packages, or a glorious house plant (I called her Sharon). I am so grateful for the love I received during that time, it gave me the energy I needed to go about my day to day caring for mum.

We had a lot of panicked moments during mum’s illness (one brought about my her excessive consumption of licorice…), and early on she was rushed into hospital. One of my closest pals (who lived around the corner from mum), drove all the way to collect me, and returned me to mum’s side by the afternoon – it was like an extremely efficient episode of Postman Pat. That’s a 7 hour round trip, interrupted only by my predictable car sickness on the M25… Genuinely, she deserves a medal.

Someone once said that your friends are the family you choose, and I would choose every single one of my beautiful friends again and again.

So, to all of my friends, thank you. Thank you for being there, thank you for knowing what I needed even when I didn’t, and thank you for being YOU.

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