Friday, December 09, 2005

My Best Friend


This photo, taken in 1991 of me and my friend, was in our newspaper as part of the "Commend a Friend" column. "L" and I met in the 70's through an organization to which we both belonged. We instantly "clicked" and quickly became best friends, as much as the difference in our ages would allow. She was 24 years my senior, but that never made a difference. Here is the copy that appeared with the photo:

"L" has been my best friend for many of the 20 years I've known her. There's quite a difference in our ages, but I hardly realize that she's older because her outlook on life is so youthful and forward-thinking. We share many interests; including antiques, books, and especially her grandchildren. I admire "L" so much; for her convictions, her courage and her always good-natured perseverance through life. Although she has been in poor health for the past year, she seldom mentions it and never complains. In the years to come, when she is no longer with me, I will treasure the memories I hold of this remarkable woman."

"L" was divorced early in her marriage, and raised two children on her own as the bookkeeper for a small local company. Life was difficult on many levels, but she maintained a sunny attitude about her troubles, at least on the surface. By the time I met her, her children were grown and married, though both of them also had marital troubles, and she worried about them a lot.


I had wanted to submit our story for publication in the Commend a Friend column for a long time, but procrastination reared its ugly head. Finally I wrote the copy and sent it to the paper, only to be informed that there were so many on the waiting list that we might have to wait a long time. A short time later, I learned that "L" had colon cancer, and the prognosis was for 3-6 months. I called the newspaper and asked them to reconsider our story, since she might not live long enough to see it. They agreed, and sent the photographer to capture us together. The article appeared shortly thereafter, and "L" was obviously gratified to have the commendation. Her pleasure at seeing it was a great satisfaction for me, because I wanted nothing more than to make her happy.

She died 4 months later, and I still think of her often and marvel at the impact she had on my life. She had little formal education, but she was wise in common sense and very observant of her surroundings. At her funeral, her daughter-in-law said that "L" was my substitute mother. I took issue with that, because if anything, she was like an older sister to me. On reflection, I realized that if I could have chosen my mother - she would have been the one. I just happened to be with her at the moment she left this life, and I have always considered that an honor. I do treasure my memories of her, and when my life gets stressful, I remember "L" and think of how she would have handled it. In life, she never failed to "mellow me" and now she is doing it in death.

53 comments:

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi Judy..
What a lovely lovely tribute to this very sweet looking lady! And how wonderful that she got to see the article because of your thoughtfulness and care...Beautiful. Friendship...So important, isn't it?

I'm here from Michele, tonight,but would have come by anyway, as you know.

utenzi said...

That's very touching, Judy. "L" must have had quite an impact on your thoughts and feelings for you to still hold her dear 14 years after.

I really like the picture of you--from the nose up you remind me strongly of someone but I can't figure out who. An author, I think.

Plumkrazzee said...

Hi Kenju, what a wonderful tribute! All of my closest friends are between 15-20 years older than me...it's so strange, but I just adore them! There's something so refreshing about what they add to my life, I loved this post.

netchick said...

That's a beautiful story, Judy! Thank you for sharing it with us, and reminding us to cherish the times we have with our close friends...

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

What a lovely story! I dropped in to find out what seven-layer cookies were ( I read you in comments elsewhere!) but this was a wonderful diversion.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

What a wonderful story. Dropping by to wish you a wonderful weekend.

Tom Stormcrowe said...

Very nice tribute! I hope I'm remembered thos nicely after I pass(Not in any hurry for it though!)

Peter said...

Good post Judy, especially as we drift ever closer to "Ls" age.

Jennifer said...

What a completely lovely story. And what a good friend she had in you.

Karen said...

What a great story. Love the photo, shows two beautiful gals. I have a dear friend old enough to be my mom that I consider as an older sister, too. She teaches me grace and dignity when I marvel of her strength. She was a single mom, too, and only recently semi-retired from working. She's 70ish and keeps on going.

srp said...

This was a lovely idea and tribute for a dear friend. I'm sure you brought much sunshine and laughter into her life.

Hoots Musings said...

Judy that is an absolutely beautiful story and what a wonderful tribute to your dear friend. She was blessed by you, and I feel you were more blessed.

Thank you for sharing this part of your life.

Karen

Hope said...

What a beautiful tribute to a friend. Sounds like you were both blessed by this friendship, which continues even after her passing.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Wonderful stuff, Judy. We can hope everybody has at least one of these.

Tara said...

I can only hope that years from now when I am gone I will have someone to remember me the way you do your friend. You were lucky to have each other.

pia said...

That is so beautiful; I'm glad you got the newspaper to reconsider; and that you shared this story

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Judy I got a little teary-eyed reading this. Its beautiful. I am so glad they reconsidered and ran the article sooner.

p.s. - You are beautiful, Judy.

Juggling Mother said...

That was beautiful Judy

Michele sent me today

Natsthename said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Michele sent me today. :-)

Sue Richards said...

Commend A Friend..what a great idea. So great that you were able to fast forward publication of your tribute.

This summer, I went canoeing with my friend Jess. Sitting on the big rock watching the sun set, I said, "If we subtracted 20 year's from our age, how old would we be?" Jess was 7. I was 27. Quite different from the 27 and 47 year olds sitting on the rock.

Sue

Jamie Dawn said...

I finally get to see what you look like, Kenju. You are so pretty, and your good friend looked lovely as well.
How sad it must have been to lose her. I'm so glad you were there for her as she was ill. I'm sure you brought her strength and comfort. What a wonderful tribute to friendship.

Erin said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, but that was a beautiful tribute. And, you are a beautiful woman! I always try to imagine what the authors of blogs look like, but it's hard sometimes. Thank you for sharing, and have a lovely weekend.

Michele said...

Oh my Judy, what a simply beautiful tribute to your friend. This post made me think of my best friend - and how much I miss her.

I love this post, thank you for sharing it. Now, I must go wipe my tears.

Again, thank you and hugs.

Plumkrazzee said...

Michele sent me again...and i'm sure i'll be back!

WendyWings said...

That was beautiful, what a true blessing to have a friend like that.
Michele sent me today

Prego said...

I just stopped by via Michele - That's the sweetest thing I've read today. You are truly a special lady.

Thanks for your beautiful entry. It made me think of my mom.

Love,
Prego

Russ said...

Hi, Michele sent me.
What a great story. I also have a story much like this.
Thanks for the memories.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi Judy..
Michele sent me back tonight!
Still a very beautiful tribute!

Heather said...

Lovely story. What a great friend!

And what a beautiful lady you are, kenju!

Hello. Michele sent me!

surcie said...

Michele sent me!

Wow, what a beautiful story. It makes me think about one of my dearest friends. I'm in my late 30s and she's almost 60. She's old enough to be my mom, but we feel more like peers--like sisters. I'm sorry you lost "L".

sage said...

A nice happy story, Judy. Thanks for sharing and for being her friend.

kristal said...

What a wonderful post. There are some people who are extra beautiful on the inside. It sounds like your friend was one of them.

Prego said...

Hey, Judy -

Thanks for stopping by my site -
Nothing against Aginoth, other than we had a misunderstanding in which she bit my head off. It just went along with my joke - I changed the verbage so it didn't sound so vicious.

P

Prego said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
terrilynn said...

Thank you for sharing your friend with us in this lovely tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Sonia said...

What a wonderful story, Judy! Beautiful and lovely tribute to your dear friend.
This post make me think about my mother. "L" 's hair looks my mother's hair! I miss my mother so much, too.

Judy, you are very beautiful and "L" is beautiful, too.

Thanks for sharing this touching story!

poopie said...

I'm touched by your story Judy...Isn't it wonderful how angels come into our lives and stay there even after they're gone physically?

Shelli said...

Hello, I am here from Michele's. This is a wonderful tribute to your friend. It is amazing how one person can affect our lives in many wonderful ways.

Dak-Ind said...

what a wonderful tribute! michele went me

Inanna said...

Wonderful.

Plain Jane said...

Very kind words for a women that was obviously very special.

Here from M's.

vicki said...

This is a lovely story, Judy. What is so striking to me is how beautiful you both are in that photograph. I'm just riveted to your eyes, your smiles- SO beautiful. In each of you, the love shines through.

Aren't those astronomy pictures breathtaking? I check them, too and I always feel, among other things, small.
Very small.

Bhakti said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful. I love the part where you say that you wanted nothing more than to make her happy. That's just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

kenju said...

Thanks to everyone for such sweet comments about my friend, me and this post. I hope she's looking down from above and knowing how much I loved her and miss her still.

Tammy said...

What a wonderful post, and how lucky you were to have such a friendship.

Carolyn said...

I'm belated in posting here, but I had to say this was so touching! It was a wonderful thing you did and I'm sure your friend is very proudly watching you from Heaven!

Sandy said...

A beautiful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful woman. How wonderful to have such a gift - that friendship. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of it.

Michele sent me over.

eV said...

Some of my closest friends are years my senior - wise sages - who are simply amazing to hang out with.

eV

Michele sent me.

kimbofo said...

Wow. This is a moving and beautiful tribute to your friend. Funny how age does not matter as far as friendship occurs. Most of my friends are 10 years younger than me. I'm not sure what this says about my maturity... but there you go.

By the way, Michele sent me, although I have been here before.

Bhakti said...

HI Kenju-- I was just wondering, are Kenju and Judy one in the same person??? If so, I'm sorry for being short with you when "Judy" asked me if I still live in NYC. I didn't know who Judy was!! (Blame it on the pain meds!!)

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I put a link to this post in the 'Comments' section of my latest post.

Merry Christmas, Kenjudy!! ;)

Helen said...

The two of you are beautiful, as is such a wonderful friendship.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I remember this post very well, Judy...Such a lovely friend and what a Beautiful trinute!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL, LOL...I see I said almost the same thing back then...! I guess it was true! LOL...!