Once a friend, always a friend

Years ago, I was speaking about my best friend, to which my husband retorted, “You have a funny best friend. You never see her. You never telephone her. You never write her.”
And he was right, but I still argued that Audrey was my best friend!
We had so much history together. We met at my first teaching job, when I desperately needed a good friend to help me through that first difficult year.
And we’ve been special friends ever since. When I got married, there was no question. Of course, Audrey would be the bridesmaid. And she called me at work on my 25th wedding anniversary.
We are quite different people. I prefer staying at home close to my computer where I can look out on our beautiful wooded lot. And when I travel, I want everything planned to the last detail.
Audrey, on the other hand, loves to travel, and drives all over the United States and Canada by herself. And she loves adventures.
When we lived in western Canada, she called one time from the train station. She was on her way home to eastern Canada from Alaska, and said she didn’t have much time. It was a very short stop.
If we were home, she would stay for a few days. Otherwise, she would have gone on.
That’s Audrey, the career woman who finally married the sweetheart of her youth after she retired. My best friend.
Not seeing people does not change the status of friendship!
Another special friend was Helen Good Brenneman and her husband, Virgil. Helen was my college roommate.
I grew up in rural northern New York. Helen, on the other hand, grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C. She had worked as a secretary on Capitol Hill. And she quickly had a column in the school newspaper: “The Inquiring Reporter.”
She was dating Virgil at the time. When Virgil came for weekends, he sometimes brought a date for me.
After they were married, they had a house close to the college while Virgil finished college. My friends and I always were welcome there.
Later, Helen became an author. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, describes Helen as an inspirational author of the popular books “Meditations for the New Mother” and “Meditations for the Expectant Mother,” as well as other books and novels.
Sadly, Helen contracted multiple sclerosis at a very young age and her career was cut short.
Last Tuesday, I got an e-mail from Virgil’s daughter-in-law. Tana wrote, “We laid our well-loved Virgil to rest on June 14. Many of the family were here to comfort each other in his passing.
“It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and the birds were chirping. The funeral was beautiful, full of song and tears.”
And I also shed tears.
When Helen died 14 years ago, I was sad because she had a difficult life, but I knew it was time for her to go.
But friends like Virgil and Helen and Audrey are a treasure. They are lifelong friends. And friendship doesn’t diminish because of distance.
Think about your lifelong friends—and appreciate them. Better yet, if they live close, get together with them. If they live far away, e-mail or call them.
And remember, once a friend, always a friend!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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