“A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation or being together. As long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends never part”. ~ Unknown

Friends are people we choose to have in our lives. They are individuals that you care about and in return, they care about you. They are people you can call in the middle of the night to help you through hard times. People you can celebrate with in good times. You can talk to them about anything. They are the people with whom you share your deepest thoughts.   They are there through the good and the bad. They will tell you when you are wrong but they are non-judgmental and accept you the way you are.

As we travel through life we meet people that we have a natural connection with. These people often become friends that we interact with for years. As I reflect on the friendships that I have it occurs to me that I have known some of these women most of my adult life.  Many are the result of social networks that I participated in during my career. Others I met in college or through community activities.

Before COVID-19 I was able to stay connected with my friends by attending various activities and events with them. I enjoyed getting together for lunch or dinner. I couldn’t wait to go to a movie or concert or happy hour. And I especially enjoyed our fun trips because they had no particular agenda except to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.

One thing that has kept me going during the stay at home life of the pandemic has been the joy of having good friends. We are not able to travel now but we have all learned to use Zoom and other technology to get together. I find that a quick text or a phone call with someone who has known me forever lifts my spirit. I can talk to these women about anything.   We have shared so much; marriages and divorces, births and deaths, job changes and promotions, bad haircuts and crazy diets. They know my history and I know theirs.

One of my friends has dementia now and does not always remember me. I call and talk to her but I can tell she doesn’t recognize the voice on the other end of the phone. Then I say something that taps into the past for her and she laughs as she did in the old days. That brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.

Another of my friends passed away a few years ago. She would say the funniest things. She loved life and enjoyed every minute of it. We were very different in many respects but we both found pleasure in learning new things and exploring different places. I asked her once why she thought we were good friends and she said, “Because a person like me needs a friend like you who knows how to manage money.  It’s not a good idea to have two people as friends who are on first name speaking terms with the American Express customer service credit manager”. That’s why I loved her; she was always honest, direct and she had a great sense of humor.

I have learned through these relationships that close friendships don’t just happen. Like a garden, they must be nurtured to grow. They take time and effort but the rewards are priceless.