What happened to Best Friends??Sunday, September 17, 2006 (archive)

What happened to Best Friends?

So, I've been thinking...about friends...best friends in particular. This week, I read the blog of a lifetime friend of mine which was all about her best friend and how long they'd been friends etc. I was thinking and realized (not for the first time) that I'm not sure I have a "best friend"...you know, as defined in terms of high schoolers. Remember back in high school, you had that "best friend" that you wrote notes to all day and then called the minute you walked in the door at home and talked to all night long until you were threatened with grounding? The one with whom you laughed your head off over pretty much nothing? Or maybe it was college...your first roommate who you stayed up until all hours of the night cramming, crying over some guy or just laughing about silly stuff. So, it's that best friend I'm referring to.

Well, what I realized is, while I have really dear (and some lifetime) friends, I don't have what I would consider a "best friend". I hope this doesn't offend any of my friends that read my blogs, but I think they would agree that I'm not their best friend either. My question is...have "best friends" become a disappearing concept??? (doesn't that sound like something Carrie would write on Sex and the City?!)

I have friends, some closer than others, that I talk to on a frequent basis. But I don't have that one friend that I can tell everything to. I tried to think back to when others met their "best friends" and it was of course in high school (some earlier than that) or college. So, with that in mind, I searched the files of my brain to figure out where I had gone wrong. I remember having a very close knit group of girls in high school that I considered each and every one a best friend. OK, then what happened???

Ah yes, what happens to many high school best friends, we all scattered to different colleges and universities. Life got in the way, as it tends to do and we drifted. But I wasn't satisfied with that easy answer...so I did a little deeper soul searching and what I found shocked and saddened me. I realized during those years where you really seal those friendships...I was losing my best friend.

In the spring of 1992 (the year I graduated high school), my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. They called it "terminal carcinoma of an unknown origin", basically meaning that the deadly cancer was in many places, but they were unable to trace exactly where it originated from. Therefore it wasn't colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer etc. It was just...cancer. I began college, Belmont University (a local college) to be exact, in the fall of 1992 and by November, my first semester of college, my mother passed away.

During that time, I had two "best friends" who literally carried me through this horrendous experience. I remember laughing more than I thought possible and thinking people must think I'm going crazy to be laughing during such a serious time. But it was what I needed for that time in my life. Oddly enough, those two best friends are still in my life but they serve a drastically different purpose to me now.

Anyway, so, while my "best friends" from high school were acclimating to being on their own and enjoying the freedom of adulthood, my life as a full fledged adult came to a grinding halt. At 18, I buried my mother and best friend. And then became my dad's caretaker...doing the laundry, cleaning house, cooking dinner etc. I continued college and graduated in 1996, but never lived on campus, but at home to help dad with day to day activities. It makes sense to me now why I was attracted to and married a man much older, with two kids (who became my step children) at age 21.

I'm pretty sure many of my friends wondered why I would tie myself down in such at way at just 21 years old...but now looking back, it was the only thing I knew. And I've never regretted it for a second. That man and those children gave me back a life I left behind when my mother died. But that also explains the leap from carefree high school/college student to wife, stepmother and then mother.

I have searched for a "best friend" since my mom died and no one ever seems to live up to my battery of tests...I have discovered that I'm awfully hard on my potential best friend prospects...I expect them to be to me everything my mom would be now if she were still alive. And there's no one on earth that can do that. I've finally stopped looking. And I've tried to appreciate each friend I do have for what she brings to my life now. No one will replace my mother. And I have to quit expecting them to.

So, to all my friends, high school, church, work and otherwise, thank you...for what you've contributed to my life.

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