Monday, April 8, 2013

Jennifer Aniston's Guide to Friendship: Keep It Old

You will not be surprised to discover, if you are a regular reader of my blog or know my family, that whilst we were on vacation, someone was unwell. 

This time it was Jacob's turn      (our 12yr old). A week into the trip he developed a raging fever, that lasted five days. After blood tests, he was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and put swiftly on antibiotics.

As I stood in the pharmacy on that sunny Sunday afternoon, with my friend Ofra by my side straining to understand  the pharmacist's directions in Hebrew, I suddenly felt tears well in my eyes. 

Ofra looked at me (she has known me for 22 years and although we live continents apart, we are kindred spirits ) and acknowledged what she realized was going through my head.

"Kids get sick and they get better," she empathized. "That's normal. What's abnormal is that you are caregiving AGAIN. This caregiving is relentless. You cannot catch a break."

I nodded at her silently. I did not trust my voice, the gulp in my throat, or the dizzying emotion that was filling my brain. But what I did trust was that my dear, supportive old friend was by my side. A friend who had known me before I had kids, before I lost my Dad and before we went on our international travels. A friend who understood me so well, I didn't have to say a word.

There are few gifts as poignant as being wrapped in the warmth of decades old friendship.

Having lived on three continents in the last twenty three years we have travelled very far from the friendships of our childhoods. We have often lamented the loss of the regular contact and we felt the gaps deeply when Jonny was so sick, back in 2011/2012.

On this trip to Israel, Jonny and I were filled up with joy, as we reunited with friends who had known us as toddlers or teens.

Friends who had played with us in the gardens of our childhood homes, knew our siblings when they were babes and remember our parents when they were our age!

Friends who could dig up the dirt on our teenage years and walked the same school halls as we did.

These same friends now married with tweens and teens and twenty-somethings, travelled from all parts of the country to  embrace us with their love and care, concern and memories as we reconnected for the first time since Jonny's illness and brain surgery. They tentatively looked for Jonny's scar wrapped behind his left ear and sized up their old friend to check he still had his humor intact.

The passage of time, ages us, changes our hair color if we still have it and dips us in joy and sadness.

But it also deepens and emphasizes the strength of these special relationships that have stood the test of distance and passing years.

Being touched by these friends and keeping in touch is a powerful, limitless gift that can envelop and  help strengthen you to survive the toughest challenges.

Reconnecting reminds you, that although you might be far physically from these friendships you are very far from being alone.

Thank you friends old and new for traveling on this journey with us and for sharing this post if you enjoyed it!


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  1. Very meaningful post! Not a surprise that you have wonderful, longtime friends! No one in their right mind, having met you & your family, would give you up for matter how near or far!

    1. Thank you Lynn! You made my day with your lovely comment. Thank you for your consistent friendship too. :-)

  2. (Nancy couldn't post this comment to the blog & suggested I post it for her!)

    Wonderful post. So true. We were in Israel as well
    And got together with a couple (now a couple with 5 daughters) we were very close with when they lived in DC. We reminisced about pranks we played together at each other's weddings. We also had a Bar Mitzvah for Josh there and a 5th grade friend of Ben's who moved to Israel after he married came. All very special. I think women especially love and need old friends. I will send your blog to my "old" friends who I love dearly.

  3. hi Gilly
    a great article and so true, event though we are thousands of Miles away and meet rarely, we just pick up where we left off, as if we had last met yesterday. It was great getting together with you over Pessach

  4. Hope he is better!

  5. Oh Gilly, I'm just catching up here. Poor Jacob! And poor you...glad he is better. I'm glad you were with an old friend x

    1. Thanks Liz. Having Ofra there helped a lot!