– FRIENDS –
Caregiver Word of the Day

IMG_1134Yesterday we had a special treat. Dan and Cheryl, friends from another time in my life, came by for a visit. We lived in the same neighborhood in Colorado Springs when our children were in school. My kids liked their kids, but they adored Cheryl for her kind heart and easy laugh, and they loved Dan, because although he looked and acted like an adult, he was just a great big kid at heart.

When my life went into a tailspin in the early 90’s, Dan and Cheryl remained loyal and supportive friends. I moved away in 1995, and although we have exchanged Christmas cards every year, we’ve only seen each other a couple of times since then. As we visited yesterday, it was as if no time had passed. I felt reconnected the moment they walked through the front door, and the conversation and the laughter we shared during their visit was a wonderful gift.

As Alex’s back situation has deteriorated over the past several months, we have drawn into ourselves. Because of his discomfort, we have stopped entertaining friends in our home, and we have declined most invitations to join others for outings to movies, restaurants, etc.

I was torn about offering to fix lunch for Dan and Cheryl, knowing that it might be hard for Alex to be sociable. However, I really wanted to see them, so I asked him to suck it up, and I gave him permission to tell them they needed to leave if his pain level got too intense.

Turns out he enjoyed their company as much as I did. It was a happy, positive diversion, and spending time with them improved our outlook for the remainder of the day.

I often write about the importance of staying socially connected. Yesterday I experienced the benefit first-hand. The positive energy that was created by Dan and Cheryl’s visit yesterday is still buzzing around the house this morning. It makes me more aware than ever of the healing power of human connection.

Because of that experience, I’m going to be calling our friends who live nearby and asking them to drop by for short visits. Spending a little time with them will give us a mental and emotional break.

Will I be using them to shift the focus of our thinking and help us get over the hump that’s looming ahead of us? You bet! And I know they will be happy to do it, because after all, friendship goes beyond fun times. We need one another, and as we help our friends through times of trial and hardship, our relationships become deeper, more meaningful and even more precious. These become the friendships that stand the test of time.