The True Lesson of Love

As I sat inside today in the sweltering heat, I thought about the friends I have made in my life and the memories and times shared. They say if you make one good friend in your lifetime, hold on tight. I found a book tonight that my friend gave to me on a milestone birthday filled with some of the funniest and happiest times we shared.

On a fateful day in 1996 we met by chance with our husbands at a local diner that was called The Crazy dog Diner. I knew from that initial meeting that she would become someone significant in my life. I just didn’t know what the years, moments, stories, and anecdotes would lie ahead. I only knew that we would nourish each other’s soul in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.

Our childhoods were vastly different but similar. Both of us are only children. She could have succeeded at any career she chose. At a young age, she moved to Italy. Upon her return, she became a paralegal and met her husband. While we didn’t know each other then, our lives started to intersect. I moved into the same apartment building on the day she was moving out. Two ships literally passing in the night. She chose to raise her only daughter Olivia while I pursued my career in direct marketing.

When I was looking to build a house in the Hamptons, a real estate broker took me to her house before we ever met. At that time, I didn’t consider the block since I wanted to live in a different area. After 3 years of trying to build in what I thought was the perfect location, I ended up back where I originally started – just two doors down from my friend. I moved in with her twice when our house was delayed being built and during a recent renovation. We moved in dog and all. She told me to sell it and stay permanently with her.

I am writing this blog because I don’t think I have told her enough how much she means to me. She has been my sounding board, voice of reason, cheerleader, and inspiration. We have laughed until we couldn’t breathe. When our relationship took an odd turn, I was angry with her, and we lost touch for a few years. I never thought we would find our way back to each other again. I missed her beyond words.

So many memories of our friendship come flooding back to me as I’m writing this blog. We danced with Ben Vereen who picked us out at the opening of our local theater when we were in the last row. There was the diet coke massacre where she lectured me on risks of drinking diet coke, and I quit because of her. On our first official date, my front tooth fell out and I spent the evening smiling at her toothless. When I finally invited her to my house for a barbecue, she didn’t believe that our grill had a huge hole in it from our steak marinade. With her hands on her hips, she stomped over and looked up at the sky from the grill. I taught her how to gamble in Vegas and she definitely had beginner’s luck. We took a golf cart from a party at her house, with me driving and her inebriated. We were stopped by the police who threatened to put us in the local jail, two lunatics who were almost arrested. On one of our trips, we all went to Las Vegas for a vow renewal ceremony where JLO married her Ben. We never did get our pictures from that day, but I now realize that together we both learned the true lessons of love. I still spell her name wrong and leave price tags on all her gifts. She called me recounting every step as she walked in to witness the miracle of her precious granddaughter being born. And the list continues on.

During the darkest of times during the pandemic, I was unable to see her. We were all frightened about the future as we lived with life’s uncertainty. When it was safe for us to be together in her garage, she cooked during all the seasons. She decorated her garage for every occasion with a whiteboard, banners of our celebrations which still remain today. We laughed a lot with other friends where I formed new bonds.

When I doubted my decisions, she truly listened and offered wise counsel. Often in our lives, we don’t realize the significance of a relationship until it is too late, and the moment has passed. There are many people who come in and out of our lives and take us on to our next Journey. They open us up to begin learning a new lesson. And we in turn help shape others. Last night as I was ready to fall asleep, I thought about my friend and all the moments we shared that have brought me untold joy. We shared the rhythm of life’s ups and downs in a complicated intricate dance. We have learned the true lessons of the soul – to ask for forgiveness, courage, selflessness, love, and honesty.

Helen Keller said it best: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

Deborah, this one is for you.



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