“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out”
For the past few months I’ve been think about friendships and who are my friends. I was once told that true friends you can count on one hand, however, sometimes I find I have more, other times less. Due to recent circumstances I have discovered whom I think are my true friends.
School friends – there were many, however I am only in regular contact with one. Through college and work I was never short of pals yet looking back now I am not in regular contact with any of them. My teenage pal and I drifted apart as adults, she got married late, moved abroad and by the time she returned we were both at different stages in our lives. We now only bump into each other and plan to have coffee – sometime.
I think friends move in and out of our lives due to circumstances, where we are all at and what we have in common. In latter years I’ve made good pals through golf, or at least thought I had. Before I was diagnosed as being ill again, I had recently changed my golf club and was surprised at how one person in particular apparently didn’t want to know me anymore. In my opinion we were very good pals and we had shared many late nights chatting over bottles of wine, I know she was disappointed when I moved club but really thought our friendship was strong enough to withstand this. Then in Jan the bombshell fell. Not only the shock of being ill but also the shock of friends taking to the hills. While awaiting to be hospitalised I phoned a pal, explained what was going on and asked if she’d meet me for coffee during the week as I was trying to keep myself busy. Her response was that she’d let me know, haven’t heard from her since! Another pal I delayed in telling her because I knew she’d be so upset – more fool I, haven’t heard from her either. My best pal whom I was trying to keep in contact with hasn’t bothered to contact me at all. Yet others phoned for all the gruesome details, people who wouldn’t ever contact me in a million years. All very odd I think. These were pals that I would have done anything for. I think, that in these recessionary times people don’t want to hear if someone is going through a tough time in case it is catching. I accept some people don’t know what to say, if you are reading this and someone you know is in a similar situation, please contact them, you don’t actually have to say anything, just by phoning, emailing or texting the person will know you are thinking of them. By doing nothing you are only causing hurt.
Twitter and Facebook has been a great social link for me. I chat for ages to people I have never met and probably never will. I have also got great support from cyber friends who are well able to give me a cyber kick when I’m down. I thank you all.
I hate to name people as always afraid I’ll leave someone out but will give it a shot anyhow. Maria, my school pal, has been tremendous support. Our lives couldn’t be more different, she entered religious life whereas I stayed out. No one believes I actually have a pal a nun! Jane whom I met in my 20’s has always been there for me. We do not live in each others ear but she is one of the people I can call on and vice versa when the chips are down. Not much of a drinking pal though! Suzanne who is a lot younger than me is always at the end of the phone and could not do enough for me. While my OH was away and I was stuck to the bed she dropped the papers into me each morning and between herself and Jane made sure I was fed during those two difficult days. My golf pals – we all more or less started playing golf at the same time in the same club which we have all since left. Mandy – totally nuts, makes us all laugh but I know there is another side to her too. Mandy was the first pal up to see me in hospital and even took me outside in a wheelchair while I was looking so battered and bruised. Eileen and Collette, I used to play golf with them every Monday in the early days and they have both been huge support. Sue – what can I say – she’s been through the wars herself and over the past two years we have laughed and cried. She knows she can contact me when she is down and the same stands for me. We were great pals of her and her husband and many Saturdays we played together and the lads had a few pints after. When my husband got ill hers was so worried about him, little did any of us know that within 12 months he would be dead. It all happened so fast, 4 months from being diagnosed. Still can’t actually believe it as I write this. When I came home from hospital the girls arranged to come over and visit but Sue came on her own a few days earlier and tears were shed. She is still grieving and equally shocked at me now. The girls are the light of my life though, they are such a positive thinking group and kidnapped me on my crutches and took me to lunch. I will be forever thankful to them.
My new golf club – I was the only lady to join as a full member last year so they all got to know me very quickly – whose that lady over there??? Once they heard I was ill they have been fantastic, Lady Captain constantly kept in contact, members ask how I am and managers are very understanding at the moment when I can’t confirm whether I’m available on certain dates to play on teams. Ladies are terrific, they are rocks with big shoulders able to carry so much. I thank you all.
My rock through all of this is my husband who quickly became my best friend while we were in school – he went to the school around the corner! He has always been my best pal and we share so much, looking at him over the past few days I see many new grey hairs have appeared, sorry hun, I know he is so worried and at times really doesn’t know what to say either. I would be totally lost without him.
So the past 4 months have been a huge learning curve for me. My pals that I thought were my closest have disappeared, my true friends from way back are very much in my life and my golfing pals that we went on girlie golf trips with have been absolutely fantastic.
It really is when the chips are down that you really discover who your pals are!
Thank you everyone who have been and will be there for me.