By Judy Reiss
Last week I wrote for you to consider how important friends are in your life. Actually, I don’t know if the words should be “in your life” or “ for or too your life”. I have received a lot of comments about this particular subject! However, I think that many of you readers didn’t actually understand what I meant.
Having a friend or being a friend is not specifically with handicapped or special needs. Of course, there are many people with special needs who need not only friends but do need hands on help. Unfortunately, I now fall into that category. And I have to admit that it is very difficult to accept the help that I obviously need! And very often it is not friends who help me but just kindly people who are willing to lend a hand. But these people are not what I wanted you to think about!
Hopefully, there are many people who are willing to help the person who obviously needs help because of their disability. The willingness to offer and receive help takes two people who both understand what is happening. Forcing a handicapped person to accept help is worst than ignoring them 100 percent.
But I digress. I believe that each and every one of us needs friends! And I also think that the older you get, the more important your friends become. In this country, we no longer revere our elder citizens. Actually, I am not sure if we ever did. But think about it. The elderly woman who lives in your community has had more experiences throughout her life than you can imagine. Don’t you think that she would enjoy it if she had been able to enjoy herself and teach by having someone come and visit and then, lo an behold, ask her about one of her interesting experiences. You could ask her about something that you have heard she knows about. So instead of asking her to pick out a certain topic, ask her about something you are interested in. And, Bingo, not only do you learn about something, you are getting all the information you might want to learn from an actual person who had a bird’s -ye view!
In the Mad River Valley we have a Community Dinner on the last Friday every month. And it is free! However, donations are accepted and amazingly enough, the church where the dinner is held, takes all the donations that were collected over the year and donates it back to some person, family, or organization in the community that needs it. Talk about a win-win! The only one that I have missed is when we are gone to the Cape for the summer.
I not only love these dinners because the food is so good. I love it because every single time I see someone that I haven’t seen in a long, long time! For me, it isn’t like an opportunity to have a huge bonfire. Nope, it is more like having the opportunity to blow on the coals or embers and having what I thought was dead spring to life and rekindle a friendship that I thought was no longer viable! Not a new friend but an old friend who was just waiting to get together again!
So, think about it. Aren’t we all lucky to be able to restart a friendship?And isn’t a friendship more important than taking one more pill or shot? I hate to tell you how many pills I take every day and I am just assuming that they are good for me. However, after a get-together with friends, I feel a whole lot better than “just one more” pill. Oh, and if you ever see me, ask me about my time in the hospital! God only knows how many pills I was given that were for a wrong diagnosis! And I kid you not, it was my friends who helped me throughout the whole experience!
Right now, this very minute as my fingers creep along the keys, my best friend in the whole world who now lives in Maine, is sitting in our family room. Why you ask? Well, Malcolm is away for a week and she come over to stay with me. And believe me, I’m not as much fun as I used to be! And my best buddy, who is a member of the Grandmamafia just let us out of her car after picking us up for coffee/ tea this morning, which she does very single day! And down at the Three Mountain Café a big group of friends meet every day and believe me, if anyone is having a bad day, the group brings that person back to cheery, whether they want to or not! Who are these women? They are all friends. Some are very old friends and some have hardly made it out of their shell yet!
And that is it. In order to have friends, you need to be a friend. And if you don’t have any friends, you had better start today to get some and be one! As you draw your last breath you don’t want to realize you could have lived a lot longer if you just made the effort to be one!
Life is too damn short to try and travel the path alone! Trust me!