Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Tribute to a Friend...

On "The Friendship Page: Friendship Quotes" there is this quote by Anna Cummins:

Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.

Recently I shared in the pain of two friends; one died of cancer the other, left without a lifelong friend. These ladies two were "two peas in a pod", "tweedle-dee & tweedle-dum". In February of this year Mary discovered she had brain cancer. June 2, 2009 Dorothy lost her best friend, Mary, to this monster we all know as cancer. This experience of loss prompted a time of personal reflection for me.

Think for a moment with me... Who is the "tweedle-dum" in your "tweedle-dee"? Who is the other pea in your pod"? Julia is that friend for me. I cannot imagine a single day of my life when a "Julia thought" doesn't cross my mind. Whether she is right across town or halfway around the world... I know that is there, in spirit or in person, when I need her.

My thoughts wandered through the many friendships I have experienced in my short 50+ years on this earth. The longest enduring friendship I hold dear is from age five. Many of my friendships have endured petty jealousies, major disagreements, and one, a business partnership. My friendship with Julia is quite extraordinary.

When looking for friendships, the standing advice is: "... find someone who has similar interests, hobbies - commonalities." That is always a good place to begin...

"What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies."
- Aristotle

Julia and I share so much, but yet we are as different as day and night. Our birthdays are in February, in fact, we are three days apart in age. When we first met each other, we were both substitute teaching at the same school. Our first teaching position was at the same school. Her younger son was in my fifth grade class, and my only son was in her fourth grade class. We both adore dogs! We have a passion for the written word. Her mom lives in Memphis, so does my son. We both drive a Toyota Camry, her fast eight cylinder is taupe in color, my slow six cylinder, a speedy red. So you see... we share many loves: cars, Memphis, reading, dogs, teaching, and February.

"Give others freedom to be themselves. Appreciate the differences between their ways and yours."
- Jennifer Chen

As my mind continues to wander... I am somewhat puzzled by our friendship. There are so many differences spanning between us. Many of these differences are minor; some, vast. I love the thirst-quenching gulp of a chilled Diet-Pepsi. Her choice of beverage is room-temperature water or a chilled glass of Chardonnay. Julia's home is shared by several cats, mine is home to none. Her feet are those of a world traveler flying to Europe to see French gardens and castles; mine stay on the solid ground for the comforts of home. Julia is a "doer": outdoor garden, carpentry, home remodeling projects, blacksmithing to name just a few! My projects are numerous as well, but more of the sitting domesticated flavor. Julia lives alone which is why her work is never done. My husband of thirty years takes on many of the responsibilities Julia must do alone. I often tell her I need to give her lessons in slothfulness! She is teaching me everything I want to know about herb gardening. She loves to cook; I love to eat... a great combination, don't you agree!

"This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half." - Francis Bacon

Even with our differences and because of our similarities Julia is a friend on whom I rely and trust. We multiply each others joys and divide the pain. The best of times we have shared: sons' graduations from high school and college and her older son's wedding. During my dad's battle with cancer, I would call Julia either on the way to his home or on the way back to my home, sometimes both. She listened through my tears and made the long, lonely ride endurable. Julia was there to divide the pain when cancer finally took him away from me. Recently, when Good Friday brought tornados to our town, Julia walked along beside me, picking up the shattered dreams of neighbors scattered over my property.

What will tomorrow bring, who knows? But together we look forward to a future of grandchildren, retirement, and travels. I know with out a doubt, we will be there to lean on each other through the worst of times when the storms of life bring them our way.

"I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friend(s) [sic}."
- William Shakespeare

Thank you, Mr. William Shakespeare! The words to end this reflection would not come to me easily. You found them many years ago; they ring true in my heart today. I, too, am happy in the depths of my soul to pen these words about Julia today, in hopes that others will take the time to honor those friends they hold dear! I know Dorothy and Mary loved each other dearly. As I observed their conversations while finishing each others sentences... I glimpsed the "soul-mate" kind of friendship that endures and brings true happiness.

Julia, you are my "tweedle-dee"... I will be your "tweedle-dum" through eternity and beyond.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life is Now!

It's not that "today is the first day of the rest of my life," but that now is all there is of my life.
                                                                                                                                                     ~Hugh Prather

This quote appeared on my blogsite today.   I thought, how ironic!  Yesterday, I learned that two lives were taken from this world... a mom and her 12-year old daughter.  They were on their way to celebrate their parents/grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.  Also, yesterday, I had a call from a book group friend that one of our members is living out her final days.  As Hugh Prather states so accurately...  
Life indeed is NOW!

The lady from our book group retired from the nursing profession a couple of years ago.  Her retirement has been filled with traveling and friends!  Along with her best friend, she has been a loyal attender and reader.  Her mere presence in our group added a  positive energy, a certain life attitude that was so refreshing and youthful.   At this time, she is home with family, close friends, and Hospice.  I am truly going to miss my friend and mentor.  I will always remember her lovely smile and jovial laughter forever!  
Life indeed is NOW!

I did not know the mom and daughter who was killed in a car accident Saturday afternoon.  I did know the precious grandparents.  The wife was blinded several years ago due to a stroke.  Her war-decorated husband selects his wife's clothing, earrings, etc on a daily basis.  She depends so much on him, and he on her!  Together they are the epitome of the strength of Job!  It is my prayer that God will sustain them and the other family members through this tragic event in their lives.  Sunday, they were going to have a church pew reserved for the entire family to celebrate 50 wonderful years together.  Instead, Sunday found them planning two funerals for a daughter and granddaughter instead.  
Life is NOW!

Don't hesitate to really look into the eyes of that special person sitting across the table from you.  Don't let a day go by that you tell someone how important they are in your life.  Don't let a morning go by that you don't give that special loved one a loving hug!  Don't let a night go by that you thank God for the blessings of this life.  Don't let a phone call end with a simple good-bye... add a simple "Love you!"  Every day is precious.  The people in our life are God's gifts... cherish them!  

Life is NOW!