The Healing Power of Friendship
Wednesday is Stacey Day. With my big move looming ahead, Wednesdays are becoming more precious to me. It’s my friend, Stacey’s day off and if I’m lucky, I find myself plopped at her kitchen table. This has been my “safe zone” for many of my NYC years. Stacey doesn’t have to say “me casa su casa” out loud. It’s her mantra. We have laughed at that table, cried, shared secrets, birthdays and lots of seemingly ordinary but incredibly special afternoons.
Stacey was my rock the day Ralph died and in the months that followed. Ralph had a special place in his heart for Stacey and her children. When Stacey would fret about disaster striking the Big Apple, Ralph promised he would carry all of us safely through the Holland Tunnel on his shoulders. We believed him, and surely Stacey knows he’s watching over her family still.
An afternoon with Stacey is only made more sweet if her children Jasper and Mabel are home. You would think I was royalty for all the love they shower on me. Jasper is an almost five-year-old boy, so his affection is often fleeting, but two-year-old Mabel is my soul connection. When my heart is hurting, I go searching for Mabel. The first time we locked eyes, we bonded. When “Aunt Bwa-bwa” comes in, she runs to greet me and jumps into my open arms. Like it’s a special ritual, Mabel lays her head on my shoulder and then draws back and looks deeply into my eyes. Every time. It takes my breath away. I want to bottle it and take it to Asheville with me. My heart aches right now thinking how I will miss this exchange of pure sweet love.
This is not the first time I have been blessed with such a deep friend connection. My Michigan friend, Mary and I met 28 years ago and we instantly bonded. My son, Brian, was two and Mary was pregnant with her first child, Rachel. We beat a path to each others’ houses and began what would become the most important friendship of my life.
When Rachel was born, I had a similar experience as I have with Mabel. Rachel would crawl into my lap and we would sit quietly. It seemed no words were needed to express our special bond. I was blessed years later to have Rachel and my own daughter, Amy, spend their college years in NYC.
When I left Michigan during one of the most painful times in my life, I carried Mary with me in my heart, and though many years have passed, our love for each other has never waned. When I go back to visit, my seat at her kitchen table where I sat and drank so many cups of tea and shared so much of my life is always left empty for me.
So what do these stories have to do with holistic health and healing? I truly believe that the love we experience in our deep relationships with friends, both in the giving and receiving, has the ability to heal–in the deepest and most profound way. Treasure these friendships as though they are your lifeline. And never discount the power of the love of a child. I’m not a doctor, but if I could write you a prescription I would say find yourself a Mabel to hug and it will be more healing than any prescription drug out there.