I have a very special friendship that began way back in my childhood, continued into adulthood and now beyond. We grew up together since third grade in a small town in the Carolina Low country. We attended Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, sports, girl’s beach weekends and teen parties together. We double-dated, told each other secrets, and talked about our first everything’s.
As is often the case, we eventually went our separate ways, attending school, working and developing our adult life. We grew up and away from one another. We lost contact, then reconnected many years later to enjoy growing our families together having moved back to that same small town. It was good to be home and back with my dear friend. Our husbands and kids connected as well becoming great friends too. We went on camping trips, had cook-outs, enjoyed a small group of friends with other couples, attended the same church, met for lunch and shared real life together.
We were friends who held each other accountable. We weren’t afraid to tell each other the truth, even when it wasn’t pretty. Coming from her, I knew it was out of love and I received it. I remember once she said, “You are being manipulative toward your husband.” I was defensive, went home and thought about it seriously enough to realize she was absolutely right. Because I did trust her, I asked that she help me change my behavior. We invested once again into one another’s lives, this time to include her three kids and my five. We juggled and invested time into helping one another, praying for our families and surviving toddlers to teenagers together.
My husband’s career eventually separated us, but we stayed connected through phone calls, periodic visits and scheduled vacations together. Our kids grew up and we lost contact except for an occasional Christmas card. But then there were times we were in crisis and would make a long distance call, like when I found out one of our daughters was pregnant. She calmed me down and wrote my scared daughter a beautiful letter about her own life and lessons learned. Each time we talked, it felt like yesterday. We somehow always picked up where we left off without missing a beat.
Although we never again moved near each other, we kept in touch through the years. She called me in September 2014, and asked me to attend a women’s conference with her and some friends for the weekend. I was busy and it was way out of the way, but something forceful in me told me I needed to be there. We had a wonderful weekend with lots of laughter, sharing life and prayer. It was perfect; I was glad I listened to my heart. A week later, we talked and planned a camping vacation with our husbands on the beach right after the holidays. We talked about our holiday plans then got on with our busy lives, knowing we would tell some good stories after Christmas.
Each time we talked, it felt like yesterday. We somehow always picked up where we left off without missing a beat.
But just before Christmas, on December 20, 2014, I received a call that my best friend thought she had indigestion, went to urgent care and was rushed into emergency surgery with an aortic aneurism to repair a tear. The doctors did not give her much hope. As she was being rolled into surgery, she looked up at her sweet husband and said, “Honey, I don’t know how to pray, but either way I WIN.” Then she smiled her beautiful smile, squeezed his hand as he kissed her forehead and said, “I love you.” She did not survive the surgery.
I know without a doubt I will once again reconnect with my forever friend. Friendship Investments are not always easy, but the dividends continue to pay off into eternity. I am forever grateful to have my life impacted by this great woman and call her my friend. Nothing, not even death, can take away the unconditional love and joy we receive from a true forever girlfriend.