Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On friendship.

I saw Mamma Mia! the movie last week, and, apart from Pierce Brosnan's vocal imitation of a strangled cat, I enjoyed it. Of course I loved the music, (hello my 10-year-old self!) but what I really liked was the way it portrayed female friendship. It reflected the sort of stuff I want from the women in my life; someone to comfort me when I'm down and then make me laugh to help me back up again, who'll come dance and play with me when I feel like celebrating life, who'll know my children and my concerns for them, who'll give me bracing advice when I need it but will also just listen to me when I need to unload. And all the other little things in between. I think I am lucky to have people in my life who do this for me and I came out of the movie with a special glow because it made me think of and give thanks for them.

This weekend my Mum lost one of her very close and special female friends. Her name was Viv. I knew her mostly as Mum's friend so my version of her is slightly watered down I suppose. I'm not sure as children we properly take in our parents' friends. We take them for granted even while we are very aware of them as important people in our lives, same as we do our parents. But I liked Viv enormously. She was vibrant and fun. She was interesting and interested. If she asked you how school was, she wanted to know. She was kind. She had a knack of being able to see the whole picture, the other person's perspective, and usually some sort of historical or social perspective on your problem as well. She was the sort of friend you'd want your Mum to have, you knew that if your Mum was fretting over some aspect of your behaviour, like bad grades or an unsuitable boyfriend, that Viv would have been on both your sides, able to comfort and brace and listen and sympathise.

I'm so sad to know that she's gone because she's been part of my life (in a background-take-her-for-granted way) for decades. And I'm so sad for my Mum too, because I know how much she will miss Viv and their friendship. They were always there for each other, and now Viv's not. We have to take comfort in small things; that Viv was so ill that it was better this way, and that we had those many great years of friendship and good times, but of course it's not enough.

15 comments:

  1. Sending love to you and your mom. That is a huge loss. But thank goodness for those people in our lives. We sure are lucky to have them.

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  2. Wishing your mum and you comfort in this time of sorrow, and joyful remembrance for the lifetime of deep and lasting friendship shared.

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  3. I am holding you and your mother in my thoughts and am so sorry for your loss.

    You expressed so beautifully how friendship between women should and does so often work...

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  4. Beautiful post.
    I'm moved beyond words.

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  5. I saw it with my girls last weekend and was struck by the middle-agedness of those women letting their hair down together. How unusual to see funny, sexy, wrinkled older women on screen.

    I love having a sense of sisterhood with close female friends who have been known to behave rather indecorously when we get together, not frequently enough. I am lucky and grateful too.

    I am sorry for your loss and especially your mother's. I'm glad your Mum had a close friend for so many years who proably instinctively understood her and her life in a way that a husband would struggle to. That will be a big hole for her to negotiate now. I am glad she has a perceptive and kind daughter thinking of her at this time.
    xxxxx

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  6. Aw, I am so sorry about Viv. My parents are at that age now where they are beginning to lose some of their dear friends, and it's very hard to watch them go through it.

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  7. It's easy to forget, isnt it?, that there are more people in your mum's relationship with her friend than just her. There's all the children that grew up witnessing the friendship as well. It reminds me that my children are part of the friendships that I make and that they can be affected by the loss of that friend, by whatever means, as well.

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  8. I'm so sorry for your and your mother's loss. I can only believe that her friend must have felt as blessed and fortunate in the friendship as your mother did.

    Wishing you both the best -

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  9. Thanks to my beautiful and sensitive daughter for that loving tribute, which moves me to even more tears, and thank you all for your kind and thoughtful messages. My dearest Viv enabled all her friends to be at their best and truest. I was so fortunate to be her friend.
    Stompermama

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  10. What a lovely comment from your Mum. You are lucky to have each other.
    True friends are indeed a gift.

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  11. What a beautiful post Stomper and a lovely comment from your mum. Thinking of you both.

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  12. Oh. Thinking of your Mom. How sad.

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  13. RIP your Mum's friend.

    My Mum had a BF I grew to loath.

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  14. I loved Mamma Mia when I saw it. But then again, I love all musicals.

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