Just days ago, a friend of the family passed away. She was my grandmother’s best friend and the mother of my mother’s best friend. The two sets of life long friends, have never gone long without seeing each other or sharing long conversations on the phone. This web of friendship, that felt like family, lasted more than six decades.
Obviously, I have known this woman my entire life. She was petite in size but had a strength that was surprising. I remember her at my grandparents Christmas party; my sister and I were allowed only a short visit before we said goodnight and went upstairs with a movie and snacks. Unlike these days, young children were not assumed to be part of adult parties. My sister and I would sneak down a few stairs for a peek to see what it looked like to be a grown up.
I remember going to her house and wanting to explore it; however, I was slightly intimidated by the fact that everything was placed just so. It was clear that children were not often around the neat and tidy residence. As a child, I was unsure about her dog that had been known to walk on his hind legs and nip people’s hair while they sat on the couch. I believe it was just a friendly “hello, how are you” nibble but it was intimidating to a child. As a grown up, I remember the holiday cards that I received each year. Despite her failing health, each year she wrote a message about her activities and she wondered about mine.
One of my fondest memories of this friend, is when she held my son as a baby and smiled at him as if he was the greatest gift. Almost eight years ago, she had begun to get more delicate and holding my sturdy baby was challenging for too long. She always seemed to enjoy the fact that although spelled differently, his name was shared by her married name.
Today, my grandmother is filled with sadness, but she knows that to have a true friend for this long is an extraordinary gift. This friendship, was something that she wanted to grasp tightly and not let go; so when it is taken, it is hard to accept. I don’t know if it is because this older generation took care of each other or if it was just a relationship meant to be, but I have never witnessed a longer-lasting pairing. Throughout my life, I have had dear friends…but none that have lasted a lifetime and will hold my hand at the birth of my son, the marriage of my son and then witness his children being born.
My grandmother is the last of “the group.” All of the husbands went first and then the wives one by one joined them. It is my belief, that they are all together playing cards or sharing favorite recipes! I can picture the men playing golf or fishing and the women enjoying each other as they prepare lunch and wait for their mates.
So I ask you dear readers…do you have life long friends and how are these friendships different from most?