29: A Friend in Need

29: A Friend in Need

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

A Friend in Need

A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.

~Grace Pulpit

Our friendship began in high school, more than thirty years ago. I was a shy and awkward scholar and Barb, well, she was the gregarious, fun loving, popular one. I can’t recall how we connected but once we did, we became closer than sisters.

Barb and I lived in an apartment together after high school while we were both trying to find our way in life. We had crazy escapades, long conversations, and more than once spent the entire night talking, laughing, and eating tuna fish sandwiches. Sleep didn’t matter much back then.

Throughout the years we have both shared all of life’s journeys. We’ve been through weddings, babies, divorces, illnesses, surgeries, venting sessions, weight gains, and weight losses. We have eaten together, prayed together, laughed and cried together, attempted dance and aerobic classes, and have even had knock-down, drag-out fights. Yet we are friends and that will never change. I know that I can call Barb whenever, to share in my happiness or my pain. Ten years ago, unfortunately, I called Barb to help me with my pain.

My husband Ted, my daughter Elizabeth, and I had left for a Disney World vacation. We were sharing the week with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece, looking forward to a wonderful time exploring all of the theme parks and relaxing in the Florida sunshine.

Our vacation ended very early on our first morning with the jarring ring of the telephone. My dad had unexpectedly passed away while he, too, was enjoying a vacation with my mom. He died in their hotel room in Virginia as they made their journey back home from Florida to Ohio. The shock was overwhelming. My young daughter and niece were nearly inconsolable. Thankfully, Ted and my brother-in-law Jim took the girls to breakfast while my sister and I packed up all of our belongings that had just been unpacked the night before… and I called Barb.

My dear friend instantly went into care mode with, “What can I do? What do you need? How can I help?” I had no answers but simply appreciated the questions. As we packed up and began our solemn road trip back to Ohio, Barb checked in frequently. Barb knew that my dad and I were very close. She insisted that she talk with Ted so that he could tell her if I was truly doing as okay as I professed… which I really wasn’t.

Not but a few minutes after we pulled into our driveway at home, Barb came roaring in (if you know Barb — she does tend to “roar” in!) with a plate of sandwiches and miscellaneous food items, knowing that we probably had little to eat at the house. More than the food, the tight hugs and shared tears were incredibly welcomed.

The decision was made to assemble at our house following Dad’s memorial service. I gathered myself together to assure that there was a spread of food prepared, but I could hardly get it all ready while at the service. Again, Barb took charge to alleviate my stress. She offered, or actually demanded, to make a quick appearance at the service, head back to our house, and make sure that the food and drinks were set up. When we did arrive home after that long day, with my entire large family, we came home to everything set beautifully on the tables with additional dishes prepared by Barb. Barb, in her own knowing way, recognized that this was a private family celebration of life, as my mom had requested. She gracefully greeted all of us then quietly slipped out.

Personally, Barb has been, remains, and always will be my family. She would have been more than welcome to stay. I am just thankful that she has stayed through all of these years… with many more to come.

~Lil Blosfield

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