This goes out to all of you, especially my Forever Friends. Every single day I am grateful for my very special women friends. Every day.
I have been so fortunate to have a friend for life whom I met in 5th grade, a friend for life from our first day at UMO, two friends for life from our working days in Portland, and a number friends of for life I’ve met on our cruising adventures.
I am a very fortunate woman.
I am also a very fortunate daughter.
It is only as I’ve aged that I’ve realized Mom also had “friends for life”, some of whom she met as a young woman on her own in the 1940’s while living in the big city of Portland, Maine.
My friends and I have been able to stay in touch easily via email, Facebook, Skype, and unlimited calling plans, but my mom only had the occasional visits, letters, cards, and expensive long-distance calls. In fact, I know I didn’t always realize how much she cherished her friends simply because I couldn't see her with them often in Real Life or on the phone.
My mom’s been gone well over 15 years, but one of her friends’ for life just passed this spring.
Colleen Reed was a remarkable woman and an inspiration to many. She also worked to stay in touch with me after my mom’s death. In fact, 6 years ago Colleen drove from Westbrook to Brunswick to take me to lunch before EW and I sailed away from Maine.
That visit has been a cherished memory ever since.
Colleen’s niece, Aileen, friended me on Facebook and kept Colleen up to date on our travels.
This year, Aileen let me know that Colleen was ill and not likely to survive and then a few weeks later she let me know that Colleen, my last link to my mom’s generation, had passed.
“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
This week I received a note from Aileen, who has spent weeks cleaning out Colleen’s apartment. (With help from her brother, a cousin, and a friend for life.) With the note, she sent my birth announcement and a Christmas photo card from 1959 when I was three. Colleen had saved them because she loved my Mom and that’s what forever friends do.
As we’ve traveled from port to port since 2010, my friends have sent photos of their kids, their dogs, their grandkids, and themselves. Every one of those photos is downloaded into a file under the appropriate year. That file is labeled “Back Home”. It’s my friend and family photo album and I make sure to back it up regularly.
On this Mother’s Day Weekend, I am grateful that I am the daughter of a wonderful red-headed mom.
I am grateful that she had awesome friends like Colleen.
I am grateful that by modeling her friendships, I have been fortunate to have my own “forever friends”.
And finally, I am incredibly grateful that my friends and I have all embraced new technologies so that we can more easily maintain contact and share our joys, triumphs, challenges, and sorrows.
Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who has loved a child—their child, a bonus child, the child of a sibling, the child of a cherished friend, or the child who needed them.
Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who has modeled love and friendship to the next generation.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, because you have all made a difference.
The photo at the top—my mom and me—on the first Thanksgiving EW and I hosted after we got married. ('80's perms.)