I didn’t have a valentine yesterday. I was married on Valentine’s Day 33 years ago but my life has changed drastically. Since that time, I've been single for one year less than I was legally wed, though our courtship started a few years prior to the day we tied the knot. We were inspired to make our relationship legal by a near death experience; mine. Life is short, we concurred, and we could never be sure that time was truly on our side. We grew fat and lazy in our complacency; we became comfortable in our ability to overcome first world problems. When disaster struck, we were as unprepared as waltzing partners on the ballroom floor of the Titanic. It took years for me to recover from the avalanche of shocks and revelations. I was often mistaken for a nurse because for over a year, I was an instinctive caregiver, learning more about the foibles of the human body than I’d ever cared to know about. But I rolled with the punches and I am good now. I live a solo life, involved in extended family, and with no desire to find a partner. That phase of my life is over. But it doesn't give me any more time than I was allowed before. I'm still running circles around myself.
Currently, I'm witnessing a dear friend go through similar motions as I did twenty years ago. Her husband’s illness is completely self-inflicted but the end results are similar. I can reach out and lend support but more than anything, I’m here, for venting, ranting, weeping, hugging, listening. I know the importance of having people shut up and simply BE THERE. Bottom line, that’s what friends really are for. It’s also nice to have someone to go with to movies, shopping at Nordstrom, and splitting a bottle of wine or two.
However, I’ve found the most important part of a friend is his or her ears. And sometimes… shoulder. Many of us find that making time to lend an ear isn’t always easy. We all have busy lives, but to hear a friend say they’re too busy; don’t have enough time can be like a blunt needle in your side; it hurts. If we have time for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we have time for a phone call, or a lunch date.
In the past year I've lost some friends and we all witnessed shocking deaths of famous people we admired and loved, many gone far too soon. Let’s make time for one another until the day comes when all we have left are memories.
Thanks for reading.