I have a best friend named Monti. We have been friends for… hmmmm…. probably 15 years? Maybe more. If we choose people to be in our life that are our mirrors (like the old saying, birds of a feather flock together) then I really, really love myself! And even more so today.
Here’s why today. Monti had a friend named Jonni. In all the time I have known Monti I have never heard of Jonni until a few months ago. She didn’t call to tell me, but in casual conversation I asked Monti to join me to do something on a Friday morning – coffee or something. Monti said, “I can’t. On Friday I go to Jonni’s.”
I said, “Jonni who (or is it whom)?”
Monti replied, “One of my friends from years back has cancer (at 38 years old) and she is in hospice and I go to her on Fridays and hang out. I watch movies and talk to her and just sit there when she is sleeping.”
Monti could not see my jaw drop, but that’s what it did. I had no idea she had been spending her Fridays like this. Monti wasn’t just sitting with her either. She was lying in the bed with her. Stroking her hair. Making sure Jonni felt the love that Monti was feeling for her.
Jonni died yesterday. At the conclusion, even Jonni’s mom had a hard time handling her daughter’s anger and drug-induced words, but not Monti. She took it all and turned it into love. That’s my friend. Monti started going every day. Every time she was needed. When no one else was there, Monti was. Until the very end, yesterday.
I tell you, after I visited Hospice Atlanta a while back (see post: John Serrie, a musician and so much more), I know it takes a special person to do hospice work. You have to be able to separate yourself from the dying person enough to still let that person have hope – all the way until the end. When you talk to people dying, many do not ever give up the hope of getting better. Even in hospice, they still cling to life so many times, up until the time of death.
Not only do I feel in awe of what Monti has done for Jonni, but I feel so safe and grateful knowing I have a friend of this caliber. If I were to get sick tomorrow, I know she would be there with me, no matter what it takes. This is such a gift.
And this is not the only gift Monti has given me in my time knowing her. Besides the talks, her sense of humor so much like my own, her willingness to be present for me, she also gave me my “Baby Bestie,” Suzanne.
Suzanne and Monti are also besties.
It so happened that Suzanne and I became pregnant at the same time with our sons. Towards the end of my pregnancy, Monti asked me to go to lunch with she and Suzanne – since we were both pregnant and all. Of course I agreed. Who could pass up a chance to sit with another pregnant woman and complain about the discomfort?
We met, and Suzanne and I discovered that our due dates were just two weeks apart. I immediately fell in love with her personality – light, airy and fun. But still able to complain with me, which is a really nice trait if you are pregnant and your husband is probably sick of hearing it and no one else cares anymore, and you feel like they don’t understand anyway.
Not long after our sons were born exactly two weeks apart, we started getting together with our kids. And, eventually we started to get together without them for a little mommy-fun. As they grew we grew in our friendship.
When the boys were 13 months old, I became pregnant with my daughter. And Suzanne did too! And she had a girl, just five months younger than my girl, Jesse.
Now it has been six years. Sometimes I know Monti feels left out of the trio that she created. She does not have children – well, human children, Ollie is her baby dog.
Suzanne and I talk daily. We take trips together. Our families are close. I call her my children’s “second mommy” because that is what she is to them. They ask every day to go to her house or to have her kids over here – her kids that I love like they are mine.
She is my lifeline to surviving motherhood. And I think I would really be (more) insane without her. She is my go-to person on all things mommy, and all things about being a woman too. She is my anchor and my kite at the same time.
As a kite, she gives me and my kids something I can’t give. She has a “why not” attitude towards life. When I say, “Oh, I just don’t want to get in the pool because I don’t want to get wet.” She says, “Why not?”
She’s like that, always ready to take the plunge and have a good time. And I tend to say no before I am able to say, why not?
She picks up lizards and isn’t scared of bugs. She shows my kids a world with no fear of nature. And no fear of just being herself. She accepts herself wholly and by her example helps me to accept myself too.
We talk, we laugh, we discuss motherhood and being married women. We are so much alike, but different enough to have something to offer to the other.
I would not be the mother I am without her.
I’m not sure Monti will ever fully understand the gift she gave me when she invited me to lunch that day.
I feel so happy to have the friends that have been put into my life. Friendship really is a beautiful thing – without this bond life would not be as rich or as fun.
For me, these friendships are a lesson in the Golden Rule. About being the kind of person I want to attract in my life. If it is true that we can look at those around those in our life as a mirror, then I know I am doing just fine.