I Get by with a Little Help From my Friends

Jun 27, 2015 by

I Get by with a Little Help From my Friends

One of the saddest things I ever read was a note I received from a woman after the death of my mother. “Rita was my best friend,” the woman wrote. My heart ached at seeing the words on the sympathy card, because they brought back memories of my mom, and how often she complained to me about the woman. And supposedly this woman thought the two of them had been best friends? Obviously my mother didn’t think so. They’d been close in earlier years, but what had happened to spoil the friendship? I’d always admired the woman, and I never could understand my mother’s reluctance to be more involved with her. But who knows what really goes on between friends? And what is it about friendship that makes or breaks it?

Mac Miller: Don’t count the number of friends you have, but the number of friends you can count on.

When I was a teenager, I remember asking my grandfather if he had a best friend. He shook his head. “I don’t want to make any one person more important than another,” he said. “Each of my friends is special in their own way.”

Jess C. Scott: Friends are the family you choose.

I’ve never forgotten that conversation with my grandfather. Obviously he had no clue how wonderful it was to be able to confide in one special person… to be able to share your hopes and dreams, your fears and longings, your sadness and your joys. Then again, my grandfather was an adult. Maybe he was so¬†old and wise that he no longer needed that one special friend as a back-up. Plus, he had my grandmother as a sounding board. But as the years passed, I began to see the wisdom in his words. You can’t expect one person to be your everything. Even my husband, much as I love him, can’t fulfill all my emotional needs… and neither can just one single friend. I’ve come to understand that my grandfather was right. Each person, each of my friends, is special in their own unique way.

Oprah Winfrey quote on Friendship Kathleen Irene PaterkaOprah Winfrey:

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo,

but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Which brings me to another thought: how quickly life, and friends, can change. Here today, gone tomorrow. Childhood friendships have long since disappeared; perhaps because when I was 10 years old, my family moved from the city where I was born and raised. Middle school, high school, college friends? I can count on two fingers the friends I have left from that time period, but both those women are special to me. We don’t connect often, but when we do, it’s a wonderful homecoming. Which brings me to thinking of another friend, a ‘former friend’ who was there for me when my sister died. This friend and I were particularly close for a number of years, but none so more than the nine months before my sister died of cancer. My friend was there through it all. She held my hand and listened as I poured out my heart and grieved. She was there for the funeral, she was there in the following year. And then, she simply vanished. Gone from my life. Still present, geographically-speaking, but things had changed. She’d changed. I’d changed. To this day, I still don’t understand what happened, and how such a close friendship could simply disappear. Had we really been friends at all? Not anymore, perhaps, but we were then. And I’m forever grateful that I had a friend like her at that point in my life. She was there for me at the perfect time, and I will never forget her.

For the past fourteen years, I’ve been blessed to have the friendship of two fellow authors, magnificent women who’ve been at my side since beforeQueen of Hearts Club 2015 any of us were published. Jenna Mindel and Christine Elizabeth Johnson are my fellow co-horts and writing buddies. Our little 3-some Queen of Hearts Club meets on a regular basis to brainstorm plots, kick around craft questions, and just have fun. I know I can count on them through anything. They truly are royalty when it comes to matters of the heart.

I get by with a little help from my friends. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote that song for their friend and fellow Beatle Ringo Starr, who performed it in 1967. Yet even the Beatles split, with the ‘fab four’ going their own separate ways. Spiritual, financial, and other concerns caused a rift in the band. Did the four men remain friends? Who’s to know what’s in people’s hearts?

Marlene Dietrich: It’s the friends you can call up at 4 am that matter.

Brownie Girl Scouts  Kathleen Irene Paterka

Were you a Girl Scout? If so, maybe you remember the Brownie Girl Scout troops, and how we always joined hands at the end of each meeting and sang the Brownie Girl Scout friendship song. Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold. To this day, hearing it always puts a smile on my face.

Here’s hoping your jewelry box of friendship sparkles with silver and gold.

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2 Comments

  1. I have wonderful friends, but I’m not good at being one. I fall out of touch, isolating myself for long stretches of time, wrapped up in my own… everything. Then I feel embarrassed to reach out, because I’ve been so silent. I worry that my friends will think I only get in touch when I need them (the classic “user”), even though that’s not the case. In those times, I do need them to be the ones to reach out to me, to tell me it’s okay I’ve fallen off the map. After all, it’s a two-way street. It’s not like they’ve been trying to contact me, and I’ve been ignoring them; we’ve just been busy with our separate lives. And maybe they’re feeling that shame, too. So despite my reluctance and my fear of rejection, I call or email them, just to say “hey” and let them know we’re still friends. Only in a couple of cases has it been a negative experience. And even then, I don’t regret doing it. I never regret telling someone I care about them.

    I’m honored to call you “friend.” Love you!

    • Kathleen Irene Paterka

      Miss Brea, I feel myself blessed to be able to call you ‘friend’ as well. xxoo It’s so difficult reaching out to others, isn’t it? I think part of it has to do with the fact that our society moves at warp-speed. I read the other day that we process more in 24 hours than people who lived in the 13th century processed in their entire lifetime. Yet they probably had the better of the two worlds in the respect that they had plenty of time to make for their friends… and I suppose, too, that back in ‘the old days’, you knew exactly who your friends were. They had your back, so to speak, before someone threw the first spear. P.S. I love you, too! ~ Kathleen