“Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without then.” Anna Taylor
To tell you something about myself, I have never been one to have girlfriends. Sure, I have had tons of acquaintances (having been in the professional arena for forty years, involvement in church, playing in the symphony orchestra, signing in choirs . . .and of course quilt groups), but only a couple of people I would call girlfriends. Being a single mother of two boys, I had been raised to figure it out for myself, that to ask for help was a sign of weakness; to NEVER cry; in other words to “suck it up, buttercup.” But this all changed two years ago when Rick (my husband) became critically ill. Devastated by the news, I had no idea what to do. And I could do nothing BUT cry.
My first thought was how to get out of this black hole I felt I was falling into. There is a quote by Marlene Dietrich that says “It’s the friends that you can call up at 4:00 a.m. that matter.” And that is exactly what I did. At o’dark thirty on Friday, June 3, 2016 I reached out to an appliquer. Someone I knew, but not a BFF . . . not yet. I was sooo distraught I couldn’t even talk (which for me is almost FATAL). I dialed the number and had to hand the phone to a nurse who told the appliquer that I had just received bad news and wondered if she could come and sit with me. Without hesitation, she did – driving 40 miles in the darkness of the early morning hours. The rest is history.
From that single outreach, and the supportive, caring, and compassionate reception I received from that ONE appliquer, I learned that it is OK to ask for help, to reach out, and that it doesn’t show weakness. I learned the meaning of this quote from Cicero “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” What an impact that one appliquer has had on my life!
This appliquer said that the whole appliqué group wanted to help, and I should let them. I slowly, one by one, “reached out to them.” It wasn’t easy at first, but what a wonderful feeling that I wasn’t going thru life’s highs and lows alone. My appliqué group has supported me, fed me, let me cry on their shoulders, and been there for me thru thick and thin for at least the last two years thru Rick’s medical challenges. In fact this picture, given as a gift by another appliquer, hung in Rick’s hospital room for almost a year, then in his room at home.
Unfortunately, I had to call on my friends again two weeks ago, when tragically Rick lost his battle with heart disease – passing away on July 5th. Rick and I felt privileged that God had given us two extra years together, and appreciated every day, calling it “quality bonding time.” I KNOW that I couldn’t have made it through all of this without the love of these girlfriends – their support and help. Once I get a chance to process everything and catch my breath, I hope I can be an equally good friend to each and every one of them, especially Nancy, my o’dark thirty hero.