I am incredibly lucky to have so many people in my life who I can call friends. I don’t loosely apply the term and know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. As I talked about in my Friends are Like Teapots post I am somewhat of a collector of friends.
I have some very dear friends who I have known for most of my life. On of those is my beautiful friend Kim who I shared my entire childhood with. We are still friends, although we are not a part of each other’s everyday life, our friendship remains. It always will.
When we have children it is usual to meet mums with children the same age through playgroup, kindy and school. These friendships tend to blossom and grow throughout the years of our children growing up and spending time together. Sometimes they last beyond that. Sometimes they only last while the school or kindy bond is there. I have and have had these friendships too.
I have recently made a number of new friends through Twitter. Most of whom I’ve not met. Most of whom I hope to meet. Some, who I may never meet. I call these people friends because we share a bond. A kinship. An understanding. We care about each other. If that person was to disappear from the Twitterverse I would miss them. When I know I’m going to miss someone, that’s when they move from acquaintance to friend.
Sometimes you strike gold and live next door to someone who you can become friends with. These friendships can either be short lived, last only while you are neighbours, or go on to last for a lifetime. I have one of the latter. A very special one. She hasn’t been my neighbour for over 10 years. However our friendship remains. She is a very important part of my life. She is Jill.
There is a saying “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves”. In my case this is especially true. Family wasn’t something I really had. My solace and comfort has always been found in the special people who have joined my journey and become my friends.
For 14 years Jill has been my friend. In fact she is one of my very best friends. She was there when my boys were little. She was there when I left my marriage. She was there for all my ups and downs. Her friendship has never wavered. She is always the voice of reason. She’s not one to say what I want to hear to make me happy. She’s tells it as it is. She’s always ready to administer a good uppercut when needed, but when a hug or a shoulder is required, she’s also there.
She was my next of kin. Whenever I had to fill out a form and it asked for Next of Kin, Jill was the name I wrote there. While I was single, she truly was my next of kin. She was my sister, my mother, my best friend. She still is all of those.
She tries to get me fit. She walks with me and talks with me. She drags me along to water aerobics. She tried to get me to go to Zumba. We’ve done Pilates together. We did the Gold Coast Marathon together. Ok, how about the Gold Coast Marathon 10 km walk. That’s a bit closer to the truth. We’ve had weekends away together. We’ve even shared a bed together.
Next Wednesday, Jill is leaving. Not for a holiday. Not for a few months. Not to another state even. She is moving to Germany for 3 years. I have known about this for over 6 months. It was something I chose to bury and not think about.
I have continued to walk with Jill. Talk with Jill. Laugh with Jill. All the while not giving any thought to her leaving. It was something I didn’t want to deal with. It was the elephant in the room. To a degree it still is. Jill doesn’t want to say she’s leaving. She says “I’m going on a long holiday that’s how I’m looking at it”. She will come back twice a year because her 20 year old twins are staying behind. I will see her next September when we spend a week with her after we get married. I will Skype with her. I will email her. I will MISS her.
As a farewell gift and an early birthday present, Lyn (who was also my neighbour) and I took Jill out for the day last Wednesday. Just the three of us for 10 blissful hours filled with fun, laughter, naughtiness and love. We were like 3 teenagers again. I was sick, but nothing was going to keep me down. Nurofen Plus was also my best friend that day.
We met up at 11.00 and headed off to a trendy cafe precinct for a late breakfast early lunch. At 1.00 we headed over to the Rainesforest Spa Retreat where we spent the next 3 hours being pampered. We had a one hour relaxing massage, then it was off for a sauna, spa, champagne and chocolates. We took crazy photos. We laughed. We joked and we had the best time. We then went to the Blueroom Cinebar where we watched Eclipse and had an In Cinema meal. We were all rugged up in the warm blanket of our friendship. It was perfect.
I will miss her terribly. I will be sad. However the world is a very small place thanks to amazing technology, and we will talk, we will see each other on Skype, we will still be caught up in the warm blanket of our friendship – it will just be a very big blanket stretching from one side of the world to the other.
Does anyone else have to stretch their blanket of friendship over a long distance? Is it still as warm?
This song is for Jill and for everyone who is someone’s best friend.