Having written this column for more than 3 years, I looked back at the columns I’ve published. While I haven’t blogged directly about friendship, it’s a theme that runs through many of my stories.
Friendship is a current beneath the surface of our lives that buoys us and keeps us moving forward.
Here are just a few of my subjects who were saved or propped up by friendship…
Natalie Meyerson, 97 and ½, who has 45 “courtesy daughters,” friends really, who help her run errands, take walks and keep her independent and vital.
Tony Acosta, a tennis pro who happened to be hitting balls with some doctor friends. When Tony mentioned he couldn’t catch his breath, they sat him down, took his pulse, and drove him to the hospital where he had multiple bypass open heart surgery. They’re all back on the courts.
Doug Leith, a personal friend and fine golfer with a devoted group of golf buddies. After Doug died prematurely of pulmonary cystic fibrosis and was cremated, his friends scattered his ashes on his favorite golf holes around the world. They still carry some of his ashes in their golf bags.
Ellen Kahn, in her 90s. She fled Berlin as a child on the Kinder Train. She went on to lose both her daughters over the years. She credits her friends for pulling her through.
Photographer Monni Must, who was inconsolable after losing her daughter Miya. Monni’s friend Linda Schlesinger-Wagner accompanied her to Europe several times, assisting in photo shoots that turned into a landmark series of books about Holocaust survivors.
I’m blessed with many good friends. One is my husband, Burt. The stage 4 cancer diagnosis I received 13 years ago was so frightening I knew I couldn’t make intelligent decisions. I asked Burton to take over. He was relentless in tracking down doctors, calling and re-calling, keeping notes, taking me to every appointment. He saved my life.
Another dear friend of more than 50 years is Brenda Rosenberg. Throughout my complicated diagnosis, Brenda also came to every doctor’s appointment. She designed a card printed with the Misha Beirach (Jewish prayer for healing) on one side and a meaningful photo she’d taken on the other. She cried with me when my head was shaved, designed my wig, talked me through many meltdowns. This same Brenda Rosenberg is one of the guiding lights behind this book and the Women of Wisdom.
The Torah commands Jewish people to fulfill the concept of tikkun olam, or making the world a better place. Brenda, I’m so proud of how hard you work and how much you accomplish in helping to heal the world. On a personal and global level, thank you, dear friend.