Eating, Drinking and Merry Making

Four and a half years ago we moved to Florida. I was nervous about how we’d make friends. After all, we were old. No kids to pave the way to other parents. And we were NOT willing to adopt, thank you very much.

We moved, and I hoped a friend or two would turn up. YAY! Friendships abounded. But be careful what you wish for.
We got so many fun friends I am exhausted. And at risk of becoming fat.

Parties galore! Game night and we stayed up until midnight. Cookie exchange and I nibbled through a dozen Gluten Free delights. Christmas party at the neighbors. Lots of laughs and way too late into the night for decrepit me.

And there was the holiday housewalk in St. Pete. Wandered well over 10,000 steps all through the Historic Old Northeast with great friends–also transplants from Barrington, IL.

Wait wait…don’t tell me. There’s more.

I just unfolded my tired body and crept gingerly to our orange day-runner book. I think my joints cracked. I’m deaf so didn’t hear them popping. But I bet they did.

Calendar revealed the Bunco Christmas exchange. As well as another Christmas gift swap with nearly fifty women. Yes! Fifty warm bodies. Remember, I didn’t know ANYONE five years ago. Now I’m going to festivities for the masses. (Fifty is massive to me)

Yet to come? Another game night with surf and turf on the menu. Plus caroling with the neighbors, a Christmas Eve party and Christmas day festivities.  And a New Year’s Eve cruise with party animals.

A plethora of delights. A bounty of buddies.

Jim and I have lots to be thankful for each and every day. When he and Bronson finally crawl out of the feathers, I’ll remind them how lucky we are. (Those two do retirement well)

As for me? Maybe it’s time for a nap.  Just recounting all the merrymaking wore me out.

I’ll go lie down on the sofa and say my gratitude prayers.  With luck, I’ll snooze.  Life is very good indeed.

The Loss of a Dear Friend

I once had a dear friend, a friend of the heart, an important extra limb helping me walk.  We became buddies when she was a freshman at the University of Delaware and I was a junior.  We had each other”s backs for the better part of a lifetime. She was my “go-to” person when my wheels came off.  Dear Friend knew where the bodies were buried.  She was my rock when life became unmanageable.   She’s smart, funny, kind, pretty.

We knew each other’s biggest fears.  I’m afraid of blindness.  I’m already deaf.  Being Helen Keller isn’t appealing.  Dear Friend dreads Alzheimer’s.  We had a pact.  If I went blind, she’d do me in me. If she got Alzheimer’s, I’d do the same to her.  (Readers, can you see the flaw in this pact? If I was blind, how would I find her?  If I found her, how would she know me?)

Dear Friend was a constant in my life, woven into the fabric of my history since 1971.

Three years ago Dear Friend made the decision to leave her husband.  Having been there, done that, gotten the T-Shirt, I was altogether supportive. She was afraid.  She shared her agony.  We walked the path of her new life together. Her choice to leave her marriage was the healthiest decision she ever made.

She also shared her situation with two of her other life-long friends.  One of those two stood beside her the day she married her husband.

We three attempted to put Humpty-Dumpty-together-again with duct tape, super glue, and oceans of love.  Meanwhile, her husband bullied her into one corner after another.  Ultimately Dear Friend cranked up her courage and bought her own home.  She finally began to dream her future dreams, and believe life would be full, rich, and amazing.

Her beautiful new reality was in its infancy when he wormed his way back and infiltrated her spanking clean world.  She eventually chose to resume their toxic relationship.  Humpty-Dumpty hurled herself off the wall—she then dumped her three friends of a lifetime.  We were evicted along with our duct tape, super glue, and love.

It has taken me a long time to find the, “….and that’s good because” about this particular loss.  I’ve spent ages mourning the death of our treasured relationship.

Now, finally, we come to the “…and that’s good because”

The wonderful silver lining–her other two life-long friends have become marvelous sounding boards.  Both have insightful things to share.  One, in particular, is honest to a fault.  If I have a concern, I take it to that woman.  She puts it under her microscope,  examines the squirming cells and tells me the truth.  Unvarnished, take-no-prisoners, honesty.  That’s a gift.

Dear Friend,  

Your choice to end our friendship was one of my life’s most agonizing “brought me to my knees with pain” experiences.  I’ve (kind of) moved on.  I will always appreciate the support you provided for over 40 years.  I hope you have joy, contentment, and peace in your world.

I posted this last night.  Upon re-reading I find writing this has given me much-needed closure. Thank you, Blog.  ….and with a heavy heart I say,  “Goodbye Dear Friend.”