My friend, Shelli and I, met the first day of High School, sitting under the big “M” of our respective last names on the gym floor, anticipating what was to come in this huge new exciting world.
I was introverted, shy, reserved, and sat quietly awaiting the orientation. All of the unknowns whirling privately in my head about this most significant move “to the big kids’ school.” I wasn’t very enthusiastic about this “new place.”
Not Shelli! She was buzzing with excitement – this was going to be great! She was outgoing, talking to anyone – and she was already “working” the auditorium!
She was poised for the best time of her life! Remember, we were 15 at the time, and life hadn’t really kicked up much momentum yet!
Never were two people “alphabetically” thrown together who were so different. Somehow, fate knew better.
During the next many years of our lives we shared all things important – silly jokes, “girlie” times of growing-up, secrets, and she even helped me get through English class – so unsure of my writing ability! I was always afraid to commitment words to paper. Once you did that, weren’t they there forever??
During these years, we were building a strong, sturdy, and formidable foundation for a life-long friendship.
See stood by me and wept at the death of my beloved Daddy – she adored him as much as if he were hers, too. Together, we would experience the death and loss of all four parents.
We cried and rejoiced in the magnificent gifts of the birth of her two children. We have shared all of life’s joys and sorrows – together. She has always been there, this friend of mine.
So different than I, and yet, unconditionally, unspoken, devotedly, and lovingly- simply there. No matter what.
When I was diagnosed with my first cancer – her mother had been diagnosed only months before. Shelli’s mother, and I, compared notes on treatment, misery, life’s meaning, and always found the humor in this “inconvenience” we were sharing. We were each others rooting sections.
I stood by Shelli’s side as the life of her mother slipped beyond our reach. We have shared all of life and its living.
Inexplicably, when you have cancer, it makes others react in time-proven ways. They are solicitous at first, some reticent even, uncomfortable, meaning at the time the supportive things they say, or say nothing at all. I even heard the unbelievable words, “Lesli, I have had so much cancer around me lately, frankly, Lesli, it’s just too much for me to deal with.”
During a chronic illness, intentions perhaps are good, but, understanding is difficult for many. Time wears thin……friends, colleagues, co-workers, and yes, even family members drift away.
Aside from my beloved husband, Arnie, there has always been one constant in my life – my friend Shelli.
She has been there for me – during happy times, challenges, and for decades laughing at a punch line to a joke we can’t even remember what the joke was!
She calls me every day. She asks how I am. I am always with her. Even if it is only for a minute during her day, I know she is always there.
Today is my dear friend, Shelli’s birthday.
There is nothing I would be able to wrap up and place a shiny bow on that could show my love and appreciation for this much loved friend.
So with these simple words, from one who so many years ago was afraid to commit pen to paper, I acknowledge publicly and with GREAT fanfare the greatest gift given and received ….The loyal friendship of a special woman sitting one day under the big “M” in the high school gym.
You have enriched my life.
I love you,
Happy Birthday, Shelli!