I am back on a plane again this morning, this time en route to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I will spend four days with my best friend, Diane. Part of the reason for the trip is to rehearse for the upcoming recital tour of our newly founded duo, the Amicitia Duo (Amicitia means ‘friendship’ in Latin). Perhaps the most important mission of the trip, however, is laughter. Diane has been battling breast cancer all summer, and while she is doing an inspirational job of maintaining a positive attitude, I can tell that the radiation treatments and the stress are wearing her down. It’s high time for best friend therapy.
I have been blessed to have a circle of long-time friends in my life. There are special gifts that come from knowing and loving someone over a period of many years. You are there with and for each other through real life, see each other at your best and your worst. You become family in every since of the word and can feel safe being exactly who you are. Diane and I have been friends for thirty years, meeting at Florida State during my first senior year (music Ed was a five year degree), and Diane a freshman who came in and wowed everyone with her talent and sparkling personality. Even though I am a few years older, Diane has always been my hero. She is beautiful, brave, vivacious, creative, organized, loyal, smart as a whip, and she can make me laugh like no one else can. She inspires me to try new things, to believe in myself when I have needed it most. She inspires me to be better, to reach higher. Friends like that are the most precious treasures.
We have performed together many times, presented at international conferences, been there for each other through life, and through death. When something big happens, Diane is the first person I go to. We talk, we laugh, we cry…whatever we need to do is always okay. When one of us is hurting the other hurts, and Diane is hurting now. I will do my best to be there for her, just as she has always been for me. I will go with her to radiation treatments, to visit and help her mom, will do any chores she needs done…but most of all, I hope that I will bring a smile to her face and make her laugh her wonderfully loud and boisterous laugh. Laughter can be so healing…just what she needs. If I can do that, then my mission has been accomplished. Citizens of Lincoln…prepare yourselves.