Day 21 Reflection: Friendship

As I said in these pages before, my best friend Celia died about ten years ago (I’m bad with dates) this week. She taught me a lot about friendship.

We met at a professional conference as the two slowest graduate students.  Celia dealt with arthritis through her back and hips, while I had a broken leg from being hit by a car.

The first thing Celia taught me is that friendship is unconditional. She accepted me as I was — at times giddy, at times depressed. She gave me moral support during that rose petal wine disaster when the siphon got clogged and I got drunk trying to clear it. She took me to dinner when my husband at the time dropped a bombshell that led to our divorce. 

The unconditional acceptance went both ways. I accepted her movement limitations and assisted her where I could. I helped scrub her back in the shower when she recovered from carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists. 

I accepted that she was an introverted bookworm and she accepted that I was a voluble one that took naps when I felt talked out. 

I envied her her drive to excel scholastically — she was a research leader, while I was a follower who had been encouraged to work at Master’s 1 rather than Research 1 schools. We complemented each other in research, because I have always been very good with words and she had excelled at research design. I didn’t let my jealousy get in the way of our friendship — that was my problem, not hers.

The day she died of a heart attack, Celia had sent a message on Facebook for my wedding anniversary, and as far as I can tell, she sent it just before she called the ambulance. She didn’t make it, and her daughter called me later while I was out with my husband and a couple other friends. I didn’t cry, mostly because I felt numb and helpless.  

It’s been a while, but I still miss her.

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