“Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
“Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry with your girlfriends.”
Thick, thin, life, death, moments, decades, loves, losses. Hearts blood or chicken soup, it’s the women friends who’ve been there. Advice or a boot in the fanny… cheering up or cheering on… a phalanx at the graveside, a standing army through life.
“You’re in trouble. This money is a gift, not a loan.”
“Don’t think about feeding people after the funeral. Let me do that for you.”
“I just heard the news, no need to call back… I’m on a plane from London, I’ll be there by nightfall.”
“I know you’re too sick to cook, I’m leaving food outside the door.”
“You weren’t a failure in your marriage… you were a damned fool.”
“Put your checkbook away. I’m your friend, not just your doctor.”
“Whatever you need… just say the word. I’m here.”
I so desperately wanted to love and be loved by someone who would understand my soul, see beyond façades to truth, be there in the clinches, help me raise my children, help me understand life. Well, that didn’t happen – but little did I know that kind of love would be possible, not from the apocryphal man I dreamed of finding, but from the women who would stand beside me on this convoluted journey we call life.
Women Friends are There for You
My daughters, my sister, my friends… the ones I turn to in triumph and despair… my standing-army of the spirit. Time passes, says the eloquent anonymous email. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up. Jobs come and go. Love waxes and wanes. Marriages end. Hearts break. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Careers falter. You don’t have to read to the end of the litany to know who will be the ones with you through the labyrinth. Praying, helping, pulling for you. Caring, offering a hand or a dollar or an embrace.
Just as they’ll be there in the times of celebration, joy and laughter. Just as they’ll be there in all those other times, when neither tragedy nor triumph is in the wind, but a cup of tea on the porch swing with a pal and a few girlish giggles to go with your philosophizing would be about the nicest thing that could happen to your life, on a given day. You know the times I mean.
There aren’t words profound enough to say thank you for all this, and soul-friends like these would be the first ones to tell you thanks are unnecessary. So I wrote this for the women I love and with whom I have been privileged to share the cosmic mountain climb of life.
For My Beloved Friend
What a privilege it’s been to know you,
My own dear friend
In this vast, teeming, curious,
Glorious world to find
A friend whose soul
Profoundly touched me,
Listened to me,
Laughed with me,
Grieved with me,
Learned with me,
And truly cared about
What happened to my life.
You are my miracle.
The word friend too small
To say what’s in my heart.
So I want to tell you now
In case I forget
Amidst the chaos of everyday,
And the anguish of the years
That knowing you
Has made all the difference.
–© Cathy Cash Spellman 2011
Prayer for Those Who Believed in Me
I want to say a prayer for those
Who believed in me, Mother
For those who cheered me
When my spirit faltered
Who held my hand
In the darkest dungeons of soul
Who believed so utterly that I, too,
Had no choice but to believe.
They are my heroes, unsung
Their love kept me alive.
Kept the tiny flame of creativity
From final extinguishment.
How can I ever thank the ones
Who thought I hung the moon?
How let them know that anything
I ever do that merits praise
Or resonates goodness,
Or promises change
Is part of them as much
As part of me.
–© Cathy Cash Spellman 2011
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2011