I have two absolutely fabulous friends! We’ve been friends for somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-five years. We always sent a Christmas card or holiday letter with updates. We attended each other’s weddings, celebrated babies, and followed as we each moved across the country several times over. While we weren’t always close, Christmas of 2014 changed all of that.
I remember right where I was when it all happened. I’d grabbed a few groceries after work and was driving home. I was stopped at the stop sign when I saw the message notification flash on my phone screen. I only saw one word: cancer. My heart skipped a beat and I felt like I couldn’t swallow… couldn’t breathe. My mind raced as I made my way home. What? Who? What did it mean? I pulled into my driveway and grabbed my phone. My dear friend had messaged us all to tell us that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She would start chemotherapy soon. She just wanted us to know and to pray.
I sat in my driveway, stunned. My mind went back to playing games as kids in our driveway, to selling random things we had made to our neighbors, to the middle school dances we attended together, to the car rides in the back of her mom’s old station wagon – facing out and waving at cars as we sat stopped at red lights. Suddenly, the world I knew stopped. Yes, we were older, but we weren’t old enough to be facing these tough issues just yet – right?
While the diagnosis was heartbreaking to us all, we rallied. We texted and talked several times over the next few weeks. At the end of January, we surprised our dear friend with a reunion. We showed up on her doorstep unannounced and the look on her face was priceless! Fifteen years had passed since we all had been together. We spent the weekend eating, laughing, crying, and catching up on so many missed years. As we sat there with my friend through her chemo treatment, we vowed then and there to not let time get away from us again. We weren’t going to wait for hard times to bring us together again. It was one of the best weekends of my life!
Staying in Touch
But the story doesn’t end there. We’ve kept our word and kept texting and talking. We continued to rally around each other as my dear friend finished treatment (and has now been in remission for over five years). We rallied as my other friend adopted a beautiful little girl from Uganda, and as life’s ups and downs hit each of us. Life has definitely been better – even when it was bad — when shared with amazing friends.
This year, we have found even more ways to connect with each other. Yes, Zoom and Facetime are great options, but each of us work and have families and kids. Add different time zones and we are rarely able to find a convenient time for all of us to be online.
We recently found the app Marco Polo and this app has taken our friendship to a whole new level! Marco Polo lets us record a video whenever it is convenient for us and save it to be viewed by the other members of our little group when they are free. As busy moms, we often record videos as we drive to work or sit waiting in the after school pick up line. But this keeps it real for us. We share the big things and the little things. The video makes us feel like we are together again. We laugh, we get serious, we complain, we let our kids jump on with us from time to time. We are truly a part of each other’s everyday lives and it is awesome!
And you know what? It has been my saving grace lately! I find myself craving the time and the laughs we share and looking forward to hearing the next video posted. As a busy mom in a new place – during a pandemic – making new friends isn’t easy. These ladies have been my support system. I’m so grateful for my dear friends and this great app that keeps us connected.
This holiday I urge you to find new ways to connect with the friends and dear ones in your life! Meet for coffee, play dates, or dinner if you can. But if that’s not possible connect with Zoom, Facetime, email, or give Marco Polo a try. This year has been nothing short of difficult. Sharing laughs (and even tears) with a friend is key to keeping us all semi sane in these crazy times we are living in.