Shadow Of Victory

Friday, 25 October 2013


There is a wonderful saying about friends I heard years ago.....

Some friends are in your life for a reason
Some friends are in your life for a season
Some friends are in your life forever....

Over the years I have seen this happen in my friendships...and its only been the last few years I have began to take this into my spirit. I have often tried to keep a friendship going way too long after the reason or season that they were a part school gate mum who your children shared play dates with...the friend who helps you out with lifts for the school run or after an school activity. The friend who you share an interest with eg badminton or book clubs ....the friend who moved away that seems to fizzle out into Christmas cards only.

But I haven't written a blog entry for a very long time because I have been completely wiped out by events happening in and around my family and my friends. Its been a tough few months daughter has been so ill and in hospital several times...and two of my closest friends have been battling with cancer and another close friends husband has also had cancer.  Our new grand-daughter was also in hospital for the first 14 weeks of her life and altho doing really well at home has a genetic condition which means a lot of medical care is needed .To add to all that I haven't been in the best of health myself and after almost five months of investigations and trying different medications I am left still with no clear diagnosis and a seemingly anxiety related oral dystonia which leaves me struggling to string two words together and is extremely distressing.

But this isn't what this blog is really about ...Its really about the gift of friendship.! The REAL women's conference at our church this year had as its theme Friendships and altho I didn't get to more than two sessions it was really good to hear what others feel about friendship and for all of the reasons above I wanted to share just a little about one gift of friendship that I have had the honour of having for 27 years.

Less than two weeks ago we attended the funeral and Thanksgiving service for my Dorset Buddy...I had the privilege of speaking at her Thanksgiving and in the few days between my "goodbye "visit and the actual Thanksgiving I was flooded by years and years of memories...I truly believe that she came into my life for all three of the reasons mentioned at the beginning of this entry.

The REASON she came into my life at the time she did was simply to walk through almost 3 decades of family life together...Holidays...Christmas times...Celebrations... The sharing of our children and the ups and downs of family life.

The SEASON she came into my life was that I sorely needed a friend who would accept me once I let her see behind my mask. We all live with various masks that we hide behind and as a new Christian I had my mask firmly in place ...but God used my friend to help me to be real. So far I honestly don't think that apart from Chris and one or two other friends really know the real me and accept me totally as I am. .My Dorset Buddy totally and lovingly helped me to be honest and vulnerable and she reciprocated and trust was built into our friendship from the very beginning.

Now comes the hard part of this entry...I truly believed that my Dorset Buddy would be in my life forever.....we had it all planned...who would push who in the we would probably move in together if we became widows at similar we would love our families as they got married and we became grandparents....The marathon yakking sessions we had.....the emails we sent to each other in between the monthly visits....the prayers that we shared together ....the wee jokes we had that no one else really understood....the memories....the laughter......we were surely going to be friends forever as well as for reasons and seasons.

Yet two years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and it was  most likely terminal. ....this was not in either of our plans for our future friendship and suddenly it became even more important to spend time together. As Dorset is a two hour journey away it wasn't always easy to get there but we both made the effort involved......on my part with a two hour drive there and a two hour drive home for maybe only four hours together and on her part by making time for me and aiming to be as well as she could be as time wore on and the chemo wasn't going to heal her and as the symptoms became more and more debilitating it became even more important to enjoy the gift of friendship more than ever.

When I heard that she had been transferred to a hospice and it would be a matter of days I knew I had to see her one more time..I had actually seen her on my usual monthly visit and in fact had gone with her to her first Radiotherapy session and altho we had a lovely day together especially as both our daughters were together and both of our grandchildren were there too it was a very special day and I have a really lovely photo of both of us together which I now treasure as in the following weeks it became clear that her time was limited and we talked more about her "going to glory" than ever before. Within a month she was given only days and Paul said I could visit her on the Sunday.I had a glorious half hour with her in the Hospice .....I say glorious simply because we crammed as much tears....and the absolute belief what God was calling her to glory and that she wasn't frightened at all of dying. It was a precious half hour...I cant explain how precious...we both knew we were saying goodbye and even as I write this now my tears are dripping down...both sadness that she is no longer here but also joy in knowing she is with Jesus.

When I arrived at the hospice Paul had explained that she looked very ill...I guess so I wouldn't be shocked...but honestly all I could see was the friend I had known ...her spirit shone through the physical state she was in and even altho I could feel when I hugged her that her body was struggling she was still my friend inside .  One thing we have always been together is tactile...we always hugged ..always held hands at times when needed...and this was one of those times. The entire time we talked we held hands...and when I knew I had to leave it was as if we couldn't actually let each go ...our hands seemed joined together and I know with not one shred of doubt that we have had the gift ...the precious gift of friendship and that last goodbye and the holding of our hands was symbolic of the truth that one glorious day..we will be together again in whilst I may not have her here on earth as a forever friend I know that ultimately we will always be friends forever.

It has been several weeks now since she died and her Thanksgiving and funeral ( which I must say was excellent...always seems strange to say that a funeral is excellent but we were not just mourning her death we were all celebrating her life and sharing what she meant to each of us )..and the hardest thing I am finding is simply ...she isn't here to share what's happening in my life. A big part of our friendship changed when they moved to Dorset...the daily interaction when we lived in the same town and attended the same church was gone and we relied more and more on emails and letters and phone calls and sleepovers and marathon talkathons...our record was 11 hours solid !!...I find myself thinking.." I must email her"...or "send her a text "...or I see a funny card and I buy it before I remember she isn't here anymore. I have just come home from a ten day holiday and I know that there would have been an email waiting in my inbox saying "how was it...tell me all the about it " and truly was surprised again that it wasn't there waiting for me !

Why am I writing all this ...firstly because I find that at times "writing is my route to happiness " but more importantly to honour my Dorset Buddy..and to honour THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP and to perhaps encourage all of us to not only appreciate the friends you have but also to look for ways to nurture that precious gift...who can tell when the time may come when you can no longer nurture it for many reasons.

My Dorset Friend was always a person who disliked being the centre of attention...and would.. I am sure be embarrassed not just at what I write about her but what others have said and felt and shared during her illness and her Funeral and Thanksgiving...and I have always referred to her as My Dorset Friend when I have perhaps shared a visit on Face Book as she was also a very private person and certainly didn't want every one knowing about her health or their sympathy and I respected that in the two years that she was fighting to live......But I will now refer to her no longer as My Dorset Buddy..but simply Bren... Pauls wife....Natalie and Danielles mummy ...Mother in Law to Jamie and Tim and Nona to the gorgeous Beaux...Precious Friend to many....

Bren...I miss you ......xx