A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection.
My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place.
Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.
My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.
I could never give an adequate thank you to these friends, but I think I’d like to try.
To these friends, you know who you are, here is my thank you . . .
To the friend who never said, “Are you OK?” because they knew the answer. The friend who didn’t ask, “What can I do?” they just did something.
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To the friend who washed the dishes, folded the blankets, took out the trash, and straightened up the house just to give me free time. To the friend who listened to the sadness and anger. The one who listened to the traumatic stories that most can’t bear to hear. She listened with tears in her eyes, never letting them drop down her face because she was being strong in front of her friend.
To the friend who didn’t know my husband and who has never met me but checked on us daily and made sure I knew we were loved.
To the friends who played with Jackson, hugged him, kissed him, threw a ball with him, read stories to him, and made him feel loved. To the friends who showed him grace and patience because they knew his heart was breaking.
To the friend who finally got me to let my guard down and completely give in to all the love around me.
To the friend who sent me extra long texts and funny memes on the days she knew might be a little harder than the others. To the friend who went all out on my birthday and went the extra mile to make me feel special.
To the friend who said, “This isn’t fair” because really it wasn’t, in a perfect world. The friend who said, “All I want to do is hug you,” when her arms wouldn’t reach that far.
To the friend who sent hot tamales, orchids, Friends stuff, and “hot stuff” coffee mugs to remind me I was still me amidst all the changes.
To the friend who walked for miles to find my car and brought it to me even though it didn’t exactly fit into her day.
The friend who drove four hours just to attend Frank’s funeral, give me a hug, and drive back home.
The friend who may take a minute to reply, but who only does that so she can really read and be present in the conversation.
To the friend who sat with me at the funeral home and was also thinking, Are we really here? because he was her friend, too. To the friend who randomly has whole milk and Oreos because that was their treat that they had together.
To the friends who were grieving their own loss of Frank and who managed to make me the priority.
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And to the friends who reassured me and said, “Frank would want you to be happy” when they thought I needed to hear it again and take that step forward.
These people brought me back to life.
They dug in their heels, put their heads down, and went through the storm with me.
They put the sparkle back in my eye.
They became my place to cry, to be angry, to be dark and sarcastic, and to laugh. My place to be happy.
These people are my sanctuary and one day when it’s their turn, I will be honored to be theirs.
Everyone has a sanctuary—I sure am glad y’all are mine.
Originally published on the author’s blog