Our friendship started when we were little girls. We were part of a group of girls living on the same street. We came of age together in the turbulent 60s. We rushed through adolescence, eager for every first – first bra, first period, first kiss, first love, first lovemaking. We were optimistic about the lives we would have, never thinking about the profoundly painful firsts that could be waiting for us on the other side of childhood. When we found them, sometimes running headlong and headstrong into them, we turned to each other.
We moved to different parts of the country and went years without seeing each other in person, but there was never ever a minute when I doubted, that if I needed her, Sherry would be there. When the going got tough, she was my first line of defense and I was hers.
There is something so true and authentic about the heart of your fourth grade friend. If she has been your friend at nine, at 12, and at 19, she will most likely be the friend of your heart forever. If she has shared your childhood secrets, hoped your hopes with you, and suffered disappointments with you, she would always reflect your deepest truth back to you.
At least, that is the way it was for us.
We had supported each other through some very hard, sad times. But this was different and we both knew it. Nevertheless, she was determined to make it a visit like any other. We ate lunch out and cooked dinner together. We caught up on each other’s kids and looked at photos of Sherry’s grandchildren. My first was due in a month. When he was born, Sherry sent a handmade gift. That was Sherry. She wasn’t going to change the way she lived because of cancer.
Right before I left, she hugged me and whispered, “I’m more than cancer.” I knew what she meant. I couldn’t take away the ravages of cancer and chemotherapy and neither could she, but we could make sure that cancer didn’t become her identity. Not with me anyway. So our phone conversations focused on our lives. I never mentioned the cancer if she didn’t bring it up. The balance of our friendship had not changed, because she was a friend in need. A friend of my heart. Forever.
Written by Jan Krause Greene – Bellingham, Massachusetts
Feature photo by Adrianna Calvo
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One Comment Add yours
Such a poignant tribute to everlasting friendship. I am so grateful to have friends like Sherry.
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