Over the years, I’ve learned to pick my friends carefully. I have a handful of close friends in Michigan, and I also have a handful of close friends in Hawaii. These friends have been there with me through all the periods of my life. In my joyous moments they were by my side, cheering me on. When I’ve been confused or unsure, they served as spring boards for ideas and clarity. I will forever be grateful for the spiritual lessons I’ve learned from these wise souls as they have helped me see the blessings in life. In times of crisis, (my many moves come to mind), they have been there, helping me through and keeping me sane. In my grief and sorrow, they feel my sorrow, they cry with me and are my shoulders to cry on. Yet, the most precious part of friendship is the laughter we share. As my friendships grow and deepen, I grow.
It’s been 2 weeks yesterday, since Raymond’s death. His birthday would have been today. I am in a haze. I don’t know what day it is, what I am doing tomorrow, things seem confused in my head. My sleep patterns are all messed up. For example, right now it is 4:30 a.m. and I have been up since 2:00. I did go to bed at 8:00 but what am I doing getting up at 2:00? So, having fed the cat, my furry little companion, I sit drinking my hot coffee and thinking about friendship.
Thinking about all the friends from Hawaii and Michigan who can’t be physically with me but have been calling, e-mailing and sending their love and compassion. The girlfriends who came to the funeral even though we don’t see each other often. My sisters from my spiritual circle. All there supporting me.
Robin, my sister, was here when Raymond died. She stayed with me that night and if I remember correctly she also spent the night after. With her deep spiritual beliefs, she guided my way through the grief and helped me with the knowledge that Raymond is in now in his glory. She hugged me, cried with me, and was fully present in my grief.
The day before the memorial, Cindy came and spent 2 nights with me. Cindy has a wisdom, a sense of calm and order. She took care of knowing what I had to do when, because I, again, was in a haze. A “Cindy hug” is like a blanket of love wrapped around me, comforting me. She took care of things I couldn’t, like eating and doing dishes. She cried with me and was fully present in my grief.
Karen spent days with me, so I wouldn’t be alone. She has known and loved Raymond for many years (she is his cousin in law) and was able to share stories and make me laugh. She helped me make a poster board with pictures of Raymond for the memorial. She arranged the lunch after the funeral, she took care of things I wasn’t able to do. She met people at the funeral home and introduced me to family members I didn’t know. She cried with me and was fully present in my grief.
Then there is Connie, mother earth incarnate. One day after the funeral I was talking to Connie and Karen about what I would like to do with my deck. I had a vision of all the funeral plants out there, with a couple of cozy chairs and a rug. Instantly, Connie told me she was taking me to a greenhouse the next day, we would get some dirt and plant some flowers. Not wanting to really do anything, I hesitated, but forced myself to go. After going to the greenhouse, we went to Walmart and I bought two wicker rocking chairs and a small table. Then we all came back to my place. The three of us washed the deck, trimmed the bushes in front, planted colorful flowers, and did a total “yard crash.” My deck is like a little oasis that I can sit on and peacefully be with nature.
During all the moments in these last two weeks, it is the laughter that has kept me sane. Being with Robin, Cindy, Karen and Connie, we have shared many giggles and belly laughs. There is something about girlfriends that only women would understand. Men of course think we are silly or crazy, but we know we are simply sharing love. We laugh so hard that we almost pee our pants and our bellies hurt. Raymond would be happy that I am laughing. He would be glad that I have my girlfriends, sissy’s, to keep me company and keep me alive. When I am home alone, I wander the house, or just sit here immobilized. I cry. I talk to Raymond. I sleep. I pet the kitty. I cry. Without my friends, I would have rolled up in a ball and stayed in bed these last two weeks. Thank God for girlfriends.