Although I'm in much better shape now, two weeks ago I was in the midst of many weeks of isolation and debilitation, when I experienced a day filled with friendship, both old and new. Now that I’m able to sit at the laptop again, I wanted to share this particular joy.
On April 7, I realized that Michelle, my oldest friend, had a birthday the next day. I was too sick to go out shopping, so I sat at the computer and made her a card covered with photos of us through the years. We’ve been friends since she was 4 and I was 5. We were moving into her neighborhood, and I was riding my little bike with training wheels along the side of the quiet street when I encountere d a blond-haired girl about my age, also riding her training-wheeled bike. We were both wearing crocheted multi-colored ponchos (this was 1970!). The rest is history! We’ve been best friends ever since, through her family moving away during elementary school, our college years, jobs, and family. We live in different states now and don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, but whenever we do see each other or talk on the phone, it’s like no time has passed at all. Making her card reminded me of all those memories.
After I got Michelle’s card in the mail, I rested on the couch. At 11:45, I was thinking about lunch when the phone rang. It was Am y, one of my closest friends from my teen years and beyond – and the maid of honor at my wedding (pardon the poofy bridesmaid dress - it was the 80's) – calling to say she was a couple miles from my house visiting a client (she lives 8 hours away in my hometown)! I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen her in over a year, and there she was, at my front door, minutes later. We had lunch together, laughed about old times, and chatted about everything from our kids to books we’d been reading. What a wonderful surprise!
Later that evening, after a long nap, I met two of my closest, more recent, friends, Amy and Marti, for dinner and our book group. I had rested for two days straight so I could make it out for the evening. Of course, I paid dearly for the effort the next day, but those few hours with my friends were well worth it – such a treat after the past lonely five weeks! The three of us met when our three oldest sons – all named James! – met in kindergarten. The 3 James are still best friends after 10 years, and our own Mom friendships have grown through the years, too. We all love the outdoors, travel, and reading, and they’ve been there for me through some of my worst times with CFS. Marti even brought dinner over yesterday, when she heard that Ken was out of town all week. My closest friend is my mother. She knows me and understands me like no one else in the world. We love to cook together, share books, and play games – especially Scrabble! I love the rare occasions when we’re able to meet in NYC for dinner and a show.
And finally, there are all of you!! My first years with CFS were so horribly isolating and lonely. Writing this blog and meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world whose lives are so similar to mine has been uplifting and revitalizing for me. Your words of support and encouragement on my worst days – and your sharing in the joys of my better days – mean so much to me. Thank you.
Friendship is a huge source of joy in my life, even (or especially?) when I’m severely ill. I am blessed with several once-in-a-lifetime kinds of friends – some who’ve been with me through most of my life and some who’ve been by my side for the past ten years or so here in Delaware – as well as so many wonderful virtual friends. I am grateful for my friends and the joy they bring to my life.
[P.S. Yesterday, I finally joined Facebook, after much urging from friends. It’s only been 24 hours, and I’m already enjoying reconnecting with old friends from high school and college.
Check out my Facebook page and be my friend! You can never have too many. Just let me know who you are if I don’t already know you personally. I get a lot of invitations from people I’ve never heard of, probably because there are so many Sue Jacksons out there! Does anyone know if there are any CFS groups at Facebook? I'm still getting the hang of navigating around.]