The importance of friendship has been dominating my thoughts this week.
Matt and I hosted a little picnic for friends Saturday. Five couples and their children filled our home for a few hours. All of them have had a significant impact on our family, especially within the past year. It was a beautiful opportunity to thank them and introduce some of them to one another.
On Sunday we went to a going away party for friends who are moving to Germany this month. We have known them for 10 years. Laura and I were pregnant when our husband's joined the Foreign Service. We immediately bonded and forged a friendship that has lasted through many years and many countries. Three years ago they moved back to Virginia and I was beyond thrilled. I have been without close friends in the area for quite some time. (The downside of living in transient DC and having so many friends on various tours throughout the world.)
Laura and I invested in one another's lives. Creating time each month to sit with one another and share over coffee. When Waverly went on hospice it was Laura who took control of meal delivery coordination, yard work sign ups, and fielding phone calls for me. She provided a shield of protection around our family - allowing space for us to simply be with Waverly.
A little over a week before Waverly died, one of my closest friends flew in for a long weekend to be with us. She cleaned, folded laundry, hung a sign on the door to keep away sales people, conveyed my concerns to a nurse when my emotions took over and I was unable to speak, sipped tea with me and forced me to take bites of food. Kamarah had the incredible gift of being present, but respected our space. She whisked around the house making beds and preparing dinner and then held me on the couch when I needed comfort.
When Kamarah left, I panicked. Her presence, especially at night when I feared Wavey's death, was profound. Knowing there was another person here with us was the most calming sensation. So much so that I called Laura the afternoon Kamarah left. I needed her presence. And she came with dinner in one hand and her pillow in another; leaving behind her baby boy for the first time. She stayed in our guest room praying for us and available within a moment's notice. The offer stood that she would be there for every night to come, for as long as I needed.
The act of these two women coming into our home, knowing that our daughter could die during their stay, is simply amazing. I am so thankful for friends who will enter the dark to be present.
(I also have to acknowledge my dear friend, Michele, who lives out of the country. I know she would have been here in a second had I asked. Indeed she stayed with me for a few days after the funeral, knowing I would need her support. Very wise.)