GEORGE BROWN
Friendships are made of things that are shared

July 5th, 2012    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Opinion

George Brown

Most of us are fortunate to have many good friends over the course of our lives, whether a brother, a sister, or cousin, or individuals we met along the way that quickly transition from being casual acquaintances to best friends. Some are in our lives for only awhile, while others, thankfully, are in our lives for a lifetime.

I remember my first best friend. Every day at recess during second and third grade Charlie and I could be seen chumming around the playground together, arm in arm skipping and laughing about who knows what. Our friendship came to an abrupt end when my folks decided to move in February, but I still remember that childhood friendship and can’t help but wonder if Charlie and I could pick up where we left off if we were to meet today. It’s been said that true friends can go for long periods of time without communicating and never lose the core spirit of their friendship. They can pick up where they left off as though they had spoken yesterday, regardless of how long it has been or how far away they may live.

I believe friendships are lived at three levels – shared dreams, shared moments, and shared memories. This is especially true in that most important friendship of all – marriage. If you’ve had the good fortune of marrying your best friend (or perhaps better said, the good fortune of the person you married becoming your best friend) you know what I mean. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a first, second, or even third marriage, except by measure of the number of years you get to spend sharing dreams, moments, and memories.

I’ve observed that the depth of love and friendship one shares with a soul mate is most profoundly revealed in the experience of caring for a spouse who is slowly slipping away. I have no doubt that this is something only those who have gone through the experience can fully understand, but we can get a glimpse into what it means to share this kind of friendship through the words of a loving caregiver. With her permission, I’m sharing with you several journal entries penned by a friend this past week, as she cares for her husband who has been her best friend for the past 36 years.

Wednesday – It was a lovely day yesterday. He took a 4 hour nap lying on his side, which is his favorite position. Friends came over and helped move the bookshelves and his big TV to the living room. He has been sitting in his chair staring at the bookshelves. Consequently, the man who never had an opinion about decorating in 36 years has had us rearrange the shelves several times.

Thursday – The Hospice social worker is here. How surreal is it to sit with a social worker and talk about your husband’s body donation and obituaries as if you were talking about a good recipe or the weather? She is so good with him and as he was still so against the hospital bed, she gently reminded him that it is as much for the caregiver as it is for the patient. He agreed…it is being delivered this afternoon. He is becoming weaker and weaker. Gratefully, he is not in much pain physically, but his heart is hurting.

He went to the eye doctor and got new glasses. The first pair came in; they are for reading and they are not right….or more likely…he just can’t see clearly to read any longer. The distance pair worked out just fine but he lives to read and, more importantly, play his precious “Words with Friends”. I think he may have to officially sign off of that soon. He just doesn’t have the strength.

It is so hard to watch him struggle. He looked at me today with wide innocent eyes and asked why we couldn’t go back to the eye doctor…”I have to be able to read”. How do I answer this question? How do I help him accept the fact that his body is dying? Is it possible that because we were not created to die….we were created to live forever…that this is why he struggles so hard?

Friday – I am sitting in my kitchen next to a hospital bed that my husband is lying on….in my kitchen. There is a table next to the bed where the pie safe used to stand. It is now holding the medicine. There is a machine making oxygen in the living room. A shower curtain has been hung in the door way between the kitchen and the living room. My kitchen table is now in the living room and there is a wheelchair beside the bed.

When we laid him down in the hospital bed and he looked out the sliding glass door into the blue sky he said “Wow.” That word was worth all the effort….all the disruptions….all the mess. He woke up and watched a little of the storm. He loves to watch storms. I am afraid to go lay down. I’m afraid I will not hear through the baby monitor. I know I will have to soon, but for now…I sit here and listen to the storm and I thank God for so many blessings.

Saturday – I have decided, (influenced by our daughter) that just because he is dying doesn’t mean he has to be miserable. One of the things that brings him great pleasure, and I think a since of calm, is playing “Words with Friends.” He is struggling because his new reading glasses are not right. Once again at 6 a.m. he looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes and says…”Why can’t I go and get a new pair?” Well, I say if this is that important to him then I know it is also important to the One who loves him far more than we do. So here is my request…stand with me on this…his body may be going but in Jesus name he will be able to see his precious Ipad! Are you with me people? Bless you all.

Yes, precious dreams, precious moments, and precious memories are the stuff friendships are made of.

George Brown is a freelance writer. He live in Jackson Township.Most of us are fortunate to have many good friends over the course of our lives, whether a brother, a sister, or cousin, or individuals we met along the way that quickly transition from being casual acquaintances to best friends. Some are in our lives for only awhile, while others, thankfully, are in our lives for a lifetime.

I remember my first best friend. Every day at recess during second and third grade Charlie and I could be seen chumming around the playground together, arm in arm skipping and laughing about who knows what. Our friendship came to an abrupt end when my folks decided to move in February, but I still remember that childhood friendship and can’t help but wonder if Charlie and I could pick up where we left off if we were to meet today. It’s been said that true friends can go for long periods of time without communicating and never lose the core spirit of their friendship. They can pick up where they left off as though they had spoken yesterday, regardless of how long it has been or how far away they may live.

I believe friendships are lived at three levels – shared dreams, shared moments, and shared memories. This is especially true in that most important friendship of all – marriage. If you’ve had the good fortune of marrying your best friend (or perhaps better said, the good fortune of the person you married becoming your best friend) you know what I mean. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a first, second, or even third marriage, except by measure of the number of years you get to spend sharing dreams, moments, and memories.

I’ve observed that the depth of love and friendship one shares with a soul mate is most profoundly revealed in the experience of caring for a spouse who is slowly slipping away. I have no doubt that this is something only those who have gone through the experience can fully understand, but we can get a glimpse into what it means to share this kind of friendship through the words of a loving caregiver. With her permission, I’m sharing with you several journal entries penned by a friend this past week, as she cares for her husband who has been her best friend for the past 36 years.

Wednesday – It was a lovely day yesterday. He took a 4 hour nap lying on his side, which is his favorite position. Friends came over and helped move the bookshelves and his big TV to the living room. He has been sitting in his chair staring at the bookshelves. Consequently, the man who never had an opinion about decorating in 36 years has had us rearrange the shelves several times.

Thursday – The Hospice social worker is here. How surreal is it to sit with a social worker and talk about your husband’s body donation and obituaries as if you were talking about a good recipe or the weather? She is so good with him and as he was still so against the hospital bed, she gently reminded him that it is as much for the caregiver as it is for the patient. He agreed…it is being delivered this afternoon. He is becoming weaker and weaker. Gratefully, he is not in much pain physically, but his heart is hurting.

He went to the eye doctor and got new glasses. The first pair came in; they are for reading and they are not right….or more likely…he just can’t see clearly to read any longer. The distance pair worked out just fine but he lives to read and, more importantly, play his precious “Words with Friends”. I think he may have to officially sign off of that soon. He just doesn’t have the strength.

It is so hard to watch him struggle. He looked at me today with wide innocent eyes and asked why we couldn’t go back to the eye doctor…”I have to be able to read”. How do I answer this question? How do I help him accept the fact that his body is dying? Is it possible that because we were not created to die….we were created to live forever…that this is why he struggles so hard?

Friday – I am sitting in my kitchen next to a hospital bed that my husband is lying on….in my kitchen. There is a table next to the bed where the pie safe used to stand. It is now holding the medicine. There is a machine making oxygen in the living room. A shower curtain has been hung in the door way between the kitchen and the living room. My kitchen table is now in the living room and there is a wheelchair beside the bed.

When we laid him down in the hospital bed and he looked out the sliding glass door into the blue sky he said “Wow.” That word was worth all the effort….all the disruptions….all the mess. He woke up and watched a little of the storm. He loves to watch storms. I am afraid to go lay down. I’m afraid I will not hear through the baby monitor. I know I will have to soon, but for now…I sit here and listen to the storm and I thank God for so many blessings.

Saturday – I have decided, (influenced by our daughter) that just because he is dying doesn’t mean he has to be miserable. One of the things that brings him great pleasure, and I think a since of calm, is playing “Words with Friends.” He is struggling because his new reading glasses are not right. Once again at 6 a.m. he looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes and says…”Why can’t I go and get a new pair?” Well, I say if this is that important to him then I know it is also important to the One who loves him far more than we do. So here is my request…stand with me on this…his body may be going but in Jesus name he will be able to see his precious Ipad! Are you with me people? Bless you all.

Yes, precious dreams, precious moments, and precious memories are the stuff friendships are made of.

George Brown is a freelance writer. He live in Jackson Township.

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