My BFF came to visit me this past week from Nebraska. Normally it would already be a great thing to see my dearest friend of over thirty years, but this time was extra special and meaningful after four hundred and twenty long days apart- the longest separation of our friendship.
It wasn’t only a ‘we were busy’ separation; my friend went through literal hell during our time apart, including losing her mother and all the heart-wrenching emotional turmoil that entails. My work and travel commitments ramped up, bringing me the busiest and most stressful time of my professional life as Diane was fighting for her life in many ways. We talked every day, but it is never the same as being able to hug each other and physically feel the support of a friend who is as close as any sister could be.
When I picked Diane up at the airport, she burst into tears as we tightly hugged each other, those difficult four hundred and twenty days dissolving with each sob. So much had been placed on her shoulders- too much. This visit would be medicinal for both of us, a balm to our souls and healing for my friend. Laughter is the best medicine, and as we always do, we fell into silliness and laughter along with great conversation to fill the gaps of our time apart. It felt like only days had passed rather than more than a year. Diane working with one of my students.
Part of the reason Diane came was to attend my Clarinet Symposium, and I was so grateful to have her calming presence with me. As she faced her own battles, I’ve been dealing with depression and a crippling anxiety. Having my BFF with me to make me laugh at myself and stay positive through the stressful event was hugely comforting. All felt right with the world.
After the Symposium I was able to take Monday away from the office for us to have what Diane called our, “Day…of…FUN!” We went to our favorite shopping haunts and enjoyed lunch at a wonderful pizza place we go to when Diane comes to Birmingham, laughing and talking. Diane and I are both very introverted, so we are also wonderfully comfortable just being together and reading in the quiet. I always cherish the gift of just being with a friend, not having to fill the silence with chatter. That is a level of comfort like no other that allows us to relax and recharge.
Diane won over Shiva- an amazing feat!
Our friendship has spanned many years and so much life; we’ve been there through marriages, a divorce, the death of our parents, loss of siblings, career highs and lows, personal struggles, and great joys. All along the way we have both done our best to be an anchor of love and support for the other in whatever sea we were having to swim at the time. Such a rare and wonderful gift of unconditional love- one that I will never take for granted.