The Importance of Being a Great Friend

A gift Tina gave me – it is the Stand Up 2 Cancer Alex and Ani bracelet – you better believe I will, dear friend!!
A gift Tina gave me – it is the Stand Up 2 Cancer Alex and Ani bracelet – you better believe I will, dear friend!!

I lost a dear friend (Tina) last night to Stage IV colon cancer.  She was 60.  Even though we only knew each other for a year (we met at chemo), we crammed a lifetime into that short period.  We lived 10 minutes apart and spoke pretty much every day about our good days and bad.  We shared laughs over pooping our pants (a fact of life after colon resection surgery) and tears over setbacks.  I will miss her spirit so much, and I will defeat this dreaded disease in her honor.  I have a close family member that also has the same diagnosis as me (I know, right?! what are the chances?).  Drew (my husband) told me the day after I got home from my surgery, and I am still in disbelief.  We also battle together and we are both moving forward.

So, I got thinking about true friendship, a theme that has really hit home during my illness.  I will never forget who was there for me at the beginning and who has remained steadfast in their support all the way through.  Some friends never really “show up” and some disappear after a token card or sentiment.  My battle will be going on a looooong time… so I treasure the ones who have stuck with me all this time and will stick with me forever.

I thought about the time that Tina asked me to drive her to her scan.  It was probably the last thing I wanted to do.  Number one, I felt like crap that day.  Number two, I sure as hell don’t want to go to the scan center if I don’t have to.  It conjures nothing but stress and anxiety for me.  Number three, I have about a million things going on at all times, whether it’s my actual day job, or something for my disabled son, or something for my typical son, or laundry (we have a lot of laundry in this house…), etc. And number four, they tell me that I have Stage IV cancer myself and need to “rest.” (sure, “rest”…). But then I thought, my friend needs me and I need to suck it up and do this for her.  Her results were good from that scan and we had a lovely lunch afterwards.  I will always remember that day and how important it was now that she has moved on to heaven.  There was another time that a good friend of mine (Erin) wanted to drive me to Starbucks soon after my surgery as a treat.  I was in a ton of pain and had a huge binder around my middle to hold me together to heal.  I could barely walk.  I asked her if she could take me to see Tina.  It was also an important day because it was the first time I got to meet one of the most important people in her life, her boyfriend Jeff.  Needless to say, Jeff and I ended up talking A LOT, especially these past few weeks.  I’ll always remember that day, too, because she was so happy and glowing, and proud to introduce me to him.  It was a special day.

So my point here is instead of making an “EXcuse” about all the reasons that you can’t be a friend; make an “INcuse” to show up and DO IT.  It may be inconvenient; you may be uncomfortable; it may be expensive; there may be prohibitive forces…but BE THE GREAT FRIEND!  Overcome those forces against you to show your friend that you are with her (him) in good times and in really, really bad ones as well!  Trust me, it will mean the world to them, and you are guaranteed to have a moment that you will never forget.

Peace in your world today,

Stacy

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