I never realized just how important it was to be a good friend until I almost lost mine. You see, "L" and I have been friends for over 20 years. We met in elementary school and lived one street over from each other growing up. In high school I was self absorbed and had no time for other people's problems. I was so concerned with being popular and fitting in, that it was easy for me miss how many people I hurt, including my dear friend "L". After school, somehow she still managed to be my friend and I still treated her carelessly.
It wasn't until after my 1st marriage failed and I was left a single mother with no one to depend on that I started to really see what a great friend she was. She helped me to sell my wedding rings so I could file for my divorce. Her Hubby even went with me to the courthouse the day my divorce was finalized. When my Hubby deployed, she researched and found me the cheapest highest quality tires when mine were no longer drivable. She drove me around her town to get the tires replaced and aligned. She had me spend weekends to make sure I got out of the house after I lost my job. She took my daughter for weekends so I could have time to myself. Whenever I have needed her, she has always been there. I can't tell you how thankful I am that she has stuck by me all these years and the invaluable lesson she taught me...how to be a good friend.
In the last few years, I have been lucky enough to find 2 more amazing friends who have helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. "K" and I met when I was a clerk at a drugstore and she was my manager. That was almost 15 years ago. Our friendship has been seriously tested over the years. We have the same ex husband and lived together for 6 months and that almost ended our friendship for good. But, we were strong enough to get past it and we are closer than we have ever been. During my Husband's deployment, she helped shovel the driveway, clean my house, and fix me food when I couldn't get off the couch after falling down the stairs. Even when she was going through a grueling breakup she was still there. She is an angel.
"D" and I met almost 2 years ago at my Hubby's unit right before they deployed to the Middle East. Her Fiancee was in my Hubby's squad so I figured I would take her under my wing. Little did I know, she would do the same for me. We became close very fast. Sometimes I think that is the way of Military life. You get thrown together during one of the hardest times in your life and you either get close or you can't stand each other, there is usually no in between. "D" makes me laugh harder than I ever have in my life. She brings something out in me that I never realized was there. I am uninhibited in her presence. I speak my mind, I am not afraid to be me. A lot of times, we didn't need to say how we were feeling because we just knew. If I hadn't had her, I fear I would have stayed in bed wasting away. She got me out of the house, we shopped, we took my daughter to the zoo, we talked for hours on the phone and through facebook ims and texts. She spent weekends at my house with my Daughter and I keeping us smiling and sane. She even spent the Holidays with us. I don't even want to think what those 15 months would have been like without my Army Sister.
Unless you have been through a deployment, you can never truly understand the emotions involved. I still haven't begun to sort through them all. The hubby has been home for nearly 6 months now and it still feels like it's not over. If I see anything related to deployment I weep. I don't want to discuss it with people who don't understand. I don't have the patience for it. I feel like a part of me has died and I'm mourning. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because of all the things that were lost over those long lonely months. Maybe it's because I know my man has come back irrevocably changed. Maybe it's because of how much I've changed. Because Lord knows I have. I feel so detached from my life. Alone in a room full of people. Completely lost. But, when my Girls are around me, I know I am loved and will be taken care of, as I will always take care of them. I am so blessed to be able to call these amazing women my friends.