Silhouette of person in front of a cloudy night sky. One star in particular shines very brightly above.“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.” – Christy Evans

Many of us have heard this quotation before, but have you actually understood it? Stars are always in the sky, they just shine brighter at times. Sometimes they are hidden by the sun, but they are still consistently there. The same can be said about a solid friendship. You may not see your friends all the time (because let’s be honest – life happens), but when we get a chance to connect, the bond is strong. They are able to light you up and help you sparkle even when you thought it wasn’t possible.

Today, on National Best Friends Day we wanted to showcase some of the amazing friendships that are happening in and around Threads of Life. Having someone to lean on and help you get through some of the toughest days of your life – there just isn’t anything that compares. Having someone there to pick you up at your lowest, but also be a champion in your corner cheering you on when you excel. The loss of a bond like this will have you reaching out to hold on to the memories. To quote my favourite show (This is Us), “If something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening.”

At Threads of Life we try very hard to create a place that makes everyone feel safe and to let them know they are not alone on their journey. Although no two journeys are the same, it is important to have people around who understand a small part of what you are going through. We strive to have our family members create connections and understand they can let their guard down. We have seen many families meeting for the first time on a Friday night at a family forum and by Sunday afternoon when they are heading home – they have created lifelong friendships.

The same can be said about our volunteer trainings. April and Tracey met at the Volunteer Family Guide training in 2019 and have been friends ever since. Tracey shared that one of the greatest gifts to come from the tragedy of her dad’s death, has been her friendship with April. Tracey lives in Ontario and April in Newfoundland, but that hasn’t mattered. The two of them continue to text daily and April is even going to visit Tracey this summer for the second time over the last four years. From a distance, they have been able to support and see each other through some difficult times over the past few years. April writes that distance doesn’t matter in true friendships because your hearts are never far apart. She added that she believes their connection goes beyond friendship though, and they are actually soul sisters. Although tragedy is what brought the two of them together, they now share an unbreakable bond.

When losing someone close to you, it can feel easier to pull back and shut down. This is one of the times, when the support system around you can be the most important. Elisa describes how after her son Jeremy died, his buddies would still pop over and share photos, videos and stories she hadn’t heard before. She felt grateful her family was able to have an inside look at their friendship. Watching the videos allowed them to laugh at his goofy antics and cry for the voice they would never get to experience again. To this day, Jeremy’s friends continue to reach out, have sent flowers on his birthday, and many of them even got memorial tattoos. Although it can hurt to wonder where Jeremy’s life would have taken him, Elisa is grateful to know he had surrounded himself with great friends and made a lasting impression.

Shirley shared a similar sentiment about Tim and his friends. Since 2003 a couple of Tim’s friends have been organizing a golf tournament to raise funds for his Memorial Fund and remember him. Dave, one of the organizers of the event, says that although the event helps raise money, it is a day to be with great people and great friends to remember a great person. The financial support for the Memorial Fund is a bonus. Dave shared that he and Scott, the co-organizer of the event, feel very lucky and privileged that they can remember Tim, by being on the Board for the Memorial Fund and running the golf tournament to help raise money for people who need support. Scott added that it is an important day for all of them to be able to honour a great buddy that they have known for so long. When talking to Shirley, she shared how blessed they feel that Tim’s friends stay in touch with their family. When she attends the golf tournament each year they all update her with what is happening with their family, their children and their work lives. It is an opportunity for them all to reflect and honour Tim’s life, and the difference he made in each one of them.

At times I think we can all take friendships for granted. We need to remember that these relationships come with a give and take. Learning to reflect on the special bonds we have been fortunate enough to form, will help us cherish these connections. So, on this National Best Friends Day, be thankful for the friendships you once had, that helped shape who you are today. Be protective for the ones you are presently experiencing, and grateful for the ones that are yet to come. Because you will make the best of this life, with a little help from your friends.

Kimberly Bondame