I just spent the last four days with my high school friends. Funny – I always call them that but I think “childhood friends” is more accurate.
Most of us have known each other since elementary school. We don’t all live near each other so we get together every summer for a few days (whoever is able). We also try to see each other here and there throughout the year if we can, but the summer has become kind of a ritual.
I look forward to this every year. There is something about friends who have known you most of your life that is so comfortable.
I have had summers with these old friends when all is good in my life, and I have had summers when life has been at it’s worse. But no matter what, I always smile and laugh when we are together. It has been good for me.
When I got home last night, one of them texted me and said that she thinks I should be a therapist. She is going through a hard time (different from mine) and we talked a lot over the last few days. I took this as SUCH a compliment. But the truth is, whatever I said to her has been learned through my own experience. Some of the words I said to her had been said to me either by my therapist, or by someone who has gone through a difficult time before I did.
You learn a lot when you go through such a hard experience. If you can pay it forward and help someone else, I believe it helps you as well.
One of our other childhood friends had been through a horrible experience (also different from mine) before I did. I admired her before Howie had died. She always handled herself with such grace, and somehow managed to keep her positive attitude after living through such a tragedy. When Howie died, she became one of my inspirations (I have a couple of them). We talked back then about how she handled her experience, and it was so helpful to learn how she got through it. I know it is something that is always with her and I know that of course it took her a while, but she truly lives life to it’s fullest and amazes me every day. Just watching my old friend made me see that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
It made me so happy that my friend thinks I should be a therapist. I am happy that I am able to help her in any way I can. I would be honored if my story or my words can encourage her, or anyone else.
These women I have known for over forty years. We know each other so well. They remember things about me that I don’t remember myself. They were the ones that I spotted through a sea of people at Howie’s funeral and immediately ran to. They are not always in my daily life but they are always in my heart. I’ve been away from them for 24 hours and I miss them already (and the ones that couldn’t make this year).
Like I keep saying, where friends and family are concerned I am very lucky…
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.