I no longer wonder about the amount of major challenges someone must go through while here on earth. What I have been asking myself, however, given the events of the last month, is how much kindness can one person receive in the course of her life?

My closest friends are a source of strength and support for me every single day. And laughter. We cannot forget the laughter. And when life has handed me lemons, they are not only in the lemonade stand with me, they help me build it and squeeze the sh*t out of the tart, yellow fruit.

2012 was the year of my mom’s illness and subsequent death, followed by my waking up blind a few months later. 2012 was the year I found out what I’m really made of . . . and what my friendships are made of as well. These women have shored me up since my vision loss; when others went back to their lives after my initial illness, these ladies cut their engines. They stayed.

2013 would bring my husband’s cardiac crisis and 2014 the death of my dad-in-law during an outpatient medical procedure. My girls tightened the lines. They stayed.

2019 has brought foot surgery in mid-July. My R-I-C-E’ing and recovery once again turned the professional businesswomen in my life into Meals On Wheels angels. They brought food and their company, equally necessary in the weeks I was confined to my couch. They took turns on anchor watch. They stayed.

And then, literally as the doctor was removing my stitches, my mom-in-law suffered a stroke and we quickly learned that she would not survive. We spent the next eight days waiting for her to die. Brutal honesty here at My crew rallied another time. More sustenance arrived in the form of dinners, offers of rides, hugs and love. They came again, this time to my mom-in-law’s room where long days and nights were spent keeping her comfortable and greeting a hundred visitors who wanted to say goodbye. My sisters-in-all-the-ways-that-count sat with me, they sat with my mom-in-law. They have been in my life for over 20 years and they knew her well, we are family. They made sure my life vest was secure. They stayed.

They all attended the funeral when she passed. They came to the calling hour and stayed for the church service. As I sat in the front row with the family I married into, I felt the family of five women I’ve been gifted in the pews behind me, literally and figuratively. They stayed for the luncheon. They stay.

As we all sat together at one table, aside of my husband, I had everything I ever need right there in one place. I would do anything for them.

How much kindness can one person receive in the course of her life? I don’t know. But I am humbled by and infinitely grateful for the life preservers thrown to me but these ladies as I struggle to remain afloat in rough seas.

My friendships don’t just dock.

They stay.


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