When You Got a Good Friend

When You Got a Good Friend – Robert Johnson

My amazing kids, taken by "Hunny Bee Photograpy": Amy Renz
My amazing kids, taken by “Hunny Bee Photograpy”: Amy Renz

I talk about trials, tribulations, trevails, and a bunch of other “T” words I probably don’t know in this blog on more than one occasion.  People often ask “how do you do it?!” which bugs not only me but a number of other widows and widowers I know out there.  How do we do it?  We just do it, it’s that simple.

But I have to admit, humility and pride are two things I learned a lot about in the last year.  Pride went out the window.  For a guy . . . a guy who grew up in the Midwest, with its staunch ways and harsh winters, you don’t really emote a lot.  It’s not a criticism of that way, either, it’s just what you’re used to doing.  But after I lost Andrea pride disappeared.  You get help . . . a lot of help.  Some of it comes without asking because you need it.  My parents helped me in so many ways I cannot really count.  I just have to say that in the outset.  Pride disappeared in the hospital when I broke down in a horrific torrent of emotion and tears.  Pride fell out when I cried with my children having to experience their loss with them.

Humility came when I realized very, very early on that I couldn’t do this by myself.  Not all the time.

But that’s where the song up there comes in.

When you have good friends, and I do mean the good friends, life proceeds.  I have those.  I’m fortunate.  Others would say I’m blessed and I wouldn’t really argue.

Couple examples: one month to the day after losing my wife, one of Andrea’s good friends from high-school emailed me.  She’d held off to spare me the extra comments and tide of emails, calls and cards.  This friend lost her husband nearly two years prior and she’d been through it.  Everything she wrote was dead-on perfect and just what I needed to hear.  I wasn’t alone, but she and I both noticed that where I was “Andrea’s husband” and she’d been “Andrea’s friend,” and now we’re good friends.  Period.  She, her kids, her boyfriend, all excellent people and ones I can count on for a laugh and encouragement when I need it.

I have a family that called me just the other day . . . and said if I need anyone to pick up or help with the kids they are there.  I needed them tomorrow morning . . . because I have work very early.  They came without hesitation.  Another family, friends and parents of one of Hannah’s best friend, gave me bags and bags of clothes that will fit the boys.  Another offers to help, holds a musical jam every fall . . . all these people are good people, ask nothing in return, and I’d do anything I can for them.  I survive because of them.

I don’t write this for sympathy or the “aww…shucks” factor.  It’s a tribute to these folks and the fact that I have friends and you know which people are true friends that help you survive.  When Abbi, my oldest, goes to college in the Fall, the dynamic will change drastically, and I don’t know if it will be harder or much harder.  But I know we’ll do it.

Because you just do . . . when you got a good friend.

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