Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Friendship, Death and Bear Hugs

Due to a sick son and work-away husband, I have spent a lot of time at home over  the last few days and have been able to catch up on 7 episodes of Grey's Anatomy, back to back.

There is something delicious about watching one of your favorite shows, episode after episode, wrapped in a warm blanket, steaming hot tea in hand, skipping the ads and not having to wait a week to know what happens next. It's even better watching with a friend!

I don't just watch it for McDreamy. I'm very fond of many of the characters, having been a lifer since the series began (10 years ago!) and I have to admit I shed a few tears over my 7 episode marathon. 

I was not looking for deep messages whilst I was watching, but there is one theme that resonates over and over, through the seasons.


Despite the surgeons' infighting to get into the best surgeries, when the chips are down and one of their friends is in a difficult situation, the message is clear.Friends, Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang have perfected the lines,

 "I'll be there. I'm your person."

The words "You are my person. You will always be my person." have echoed through the scripts over the years.( You'll have to watch to learn more about their friendship in the latest episodes.)

What does having a 'person' mean to you? How does it define friendship? And how does it bring comfort?

From early in our childhoods we declare Best Friends Forever -do pinky swears and think we will be friends for ever. If you don't move towns or countries or continents, those same people may still be in your lives as adults and that is very precious. Hold on tight to those people!


In a powerful and comforting book called Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert, a wise
woman called Grandy is mourning a devastating death of some kind. Most people do not know what to do with Grandy and shrink away from her grief. But then Grandy's  'person' Midge turns up. 

Midge can handle Grandy's grief, help her pound the bread dough, and witness her weep into her soup. She listens and gently brings her comfort as she nudges Grandy out into the world with a gentle walk.

 She is an all-weather friend. She is Grandy's person, because she senses what Grandy needs at that moment and is able to give it to her. 

And I sense Grandy would do the same for her.

Bear Hugs

The writer, Edna Buchanan said "Friends are the family we choose for ourselves."

Having travelled and lived far away from my birthplace and childhood friends, this has become very true for me. The 'family' I have gathered along the way epitomizes the different aspects of what it means to share a friendship and each friend feeds a piece of what friendship entails. 

That is my ultimate definition of friendship - a supportive relationship that flows both ways. 

On good and bad days, we can laugh and cry together.

Listen and talk. 

Not see each other for a while then pick up from where we ended last time. The friendship is balanced and fluid. 

Each friend may have a dominant strength but often has many of the other important friendship traits as well..

Last week I was lucky enough to spend 24 hours with 3 friends from different parts of my life, who do not live round the corner. 

One I have known since high school. One when I was newly married, pre-children and one is a fresh-friend: just 5 years old!

Between them they embody all that is best about friendship.

As a composite they are my people!

We are mutual
information gate-keepers, 
truth tellers, 
laughter inducers,
shopping partners, 
keen observers,
spiritual believers, 
avid readers, 
tea drinkers
and bear huggers. 

Do these resonate with you?

Now we are back home in different states and continents, I miss them terribly.

Patiently, living in the USA over the last 12 years, I have also gathered a posse of 'my people' and each of them helps to fuel those needs and bring comfort and joy close to home. 

I hope I do the same for them. 

How do you define a great friendship? Which qualities would you add to the friendship list? Do you have one person or many people.....? How have your friendships changed over time? 

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Other posts on Friendship

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  1. You may not know this, but your Grandma Vivi used to say that good neighbours can be better than family because they are there, on hand, physically present through the highs and lows of our lives. She was a wise and caring lady who shared her wisdom with her sister-in-law (my darling Mother), and, in turn, to me .... and now, to you. Much love xx

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