BFF - Is It Really Forever?

BFF.

Best friends forever.

We see it on necklace charms, scribbled on notes passed under the desk in that boring history class, and written on the inside of school lockers.

As adults we see friends come and go. Similar interests and shared compassion allow opportunities to pull ourselves together in groups. But there is always that extra special one.

A friend is defined as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. Okay – a good starting point. But how would you define a friendship that binds you together as a unit? A friendship that is so positive and committed that it not only reinforces and supports the relationship you have built, but also inspires you to be a better individual.

How would you define a BFF?

Let me introduce you to Charlotte and Pat.

Charlotte and Pat were friends for 39 years. Built their family units together. Raised kids and husbands and managed the daily household events.

Charlotte and Pat served others. Together they taught and served those who were in need. Visiting and caring for those less fortunate.

Unbelievably these two ended up in the hospital at the same time. Charlotte went in for an emergency appendectomy. Pat was two rooms down having her gall bladder removed. Pat woke from the surgery to see Charlotte by her bed.

“What are you doing here?” she said.

Charlotte jokingly replied, “I’m doing my visiting teaching!” Two friends. Still supporting each other during surgeries with a sense of humor.

 Charlotte and Pat

Charlotte and Pat

Summers they packed up and led the youth at church camps. Charlotte and Pat sang and danced and bonded with girls as they continued to strengthen their own friendship. Oh so many memories.

Celebrating life. Celebrating each other.

The news was sudden and unexpected. Test results revealed that Pat had breast cancer. Soon after – that Charlotte had stage four ovarian cancer.

Two friends. Difficult diagnoses. And even more difficult treatments ahead.

So what did they do?

They went to each other’s doctor appointments. Took notes for the other. Committed to enduring this storm side by side.

Chemo parties. Every treatment was a celebration of life.

Blankets were made to honor the theme of the month. There were crowns, beads, and boas. A chemo festival of sorts. Each and every event became a triumph.

 Charlotte & Pat - chemo party

Charlotte & Pat - chemo party

After months of fighting, the news was grave.

Charlotte’s ovarian cancer was terminal. Pat’s breast cancer had metastasized to her brain. The order was palliative care. Treatment simply to alleviate and lessen without curing. The chemo parties would continue. Time was their friend.

Both understood the gravity. Both knew they were dying. Both were told to prepare their families.

So what did they do?

They combined their families and went on a cruise. They went camping. They took a train trip.

Celebrating life. Celebrating each other.

Both requested that the other speak at their funeral. A sense of humor shared as they joked that the only way to get out of it was to die.

“Wouldn’t it be fun if we could go together,” they said.

Soon their bodies would begin to fail them. Weakness overtook. Hospice entered the picture. Two friends mostly confined to bed. Their visits now restricted to phone calls. Each one more concerned about the other. Never a missed opportunity to voice some cheer every day.

Hospice encouraged Charlotte’s daughter to fly out. Time was short. She arrived to support and care for her mother.

“I want to see Pat.”

So Charlotte’s daughter lifted her mother into a car and drove her over for a final visit. Both friends knowing this would be the last. They wrapped their arms around each other. Clung tight.

“Whoever gets there first … wins,” they both agreed.

And they smiled.

 Charlotte and Pat - their final visit

Charlotte and Pat - their final visit

During her last week Charlotte asked her daughter to gather friends and family to sing camp songs and hymns. They called Pat every night so she could listen and be a part.

Happy memories of earlier days. Silly memories. Memories of serving others.

Together.

The songs brought it all back.

“I love you Pat.”

“I love you Charlotte.”

The final days were silent. Not a single movement. The end declaring its presence. Charlotte’s daughter slept in a bed next to her mother. She didn’t want her to die alone.

It was June 10th at 5:00 a.m. After days of solemn silence, Charlotte suddenly tried to talk. No understanding by those in the room. Arms were moving. Hands gesturing. A silent conversation. And then peace. Stillness.

The phone rang 30 minutes later. It was Pat’s daughter.

“Wanted to let you know that mom passed away.”

Charlotte’s daughter replied – “Don’t tell me. It was at 5:00 a.m.”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“She was here … Pat was here with Charlotte.”

A few hours later Charlotte’s heart celebrated its final triumphant beat.

Friendships.

When do they begin?

Perhaps before. In another time.

Maybe we understood its value. Goodness and light to help us find our way.

I believe friendship is a gift from God. A hug of eternal significance. Encouragement which reaches beyond the veil.

Friendships.

BFF.

Best friends forever.

When does it end?

It doesn’t.