You know exactly who they are. Your ride or dies.
The friends you can count on no matter what.
You couldn’t possibly survive the storm surge of an addiction crisis without them.
Their loyalty stays closer to you than your own shadow. They deliver straight- up truth when needed. And their sass buoys you up on the deep- water days.
The connection you share is part of divine destiny. With them you are safe to be your real flaws-and-all self because they’ve got your back.
I have tremendous gratitude for the ride and dies in my life. With Tina, Kathy and Margaret I truly hit the trifecta for friendship.
For way too many years during my family’s addiction struggle, I lived in despair. As my beloved son’s life devolved into alcohol and opioids, my life devolved too.
I was lost in all of it
But like a compass pointing true north for the lost, the support and guidance of these wise women helped me to find hope and solutions.
They never judged, never talked behind my back, never wagged a finger, and never spouted sugary platitudes about my family’s circumstances.
They counseled me to stay the course to do what was necessary to help my son get help.
Tina, lives 100 miles away, but when my son was homeless, living in a car in the snow before entering treatment, she called every morning with the same encouragement.
“Stay strong in your mind, Nancy. You need to stay strong in your mind.”
Kathy was the voice of reason as we stepped into the courthouse for our son’s arraignment.
“Let him get a court-assigned lawyer, Nancy,” she said calmly. “Let the judge do what he has to do. There are worse things in life than spending the night in a county jail.”
Margaret would hug me tightly and say over and over that she was praying for the boy she knew from infancy.
My three friends instinctively knew how to be such good friends because each of them had endured their own very difficult trials. Their personal stories are heroic.
Tina lost her youngest daughter to leukemia and then a husband to Alzheimer’s disease. Over many years, she was the loving caregiver to them both.
Kathy was widowed at 40 with four young children when her husband suffered a fatal heart attack. As a single mother, she raised an amazing, close knit family while working as an attorney representing children in family court.
At 45 with the oldest of her four children headed to college, Margaret learned she was pregnant with her daughter, Meggie, diagnosed with Downs Syndrome and a severe congenital heart defect. Meggie is now a high school graduate with a great sense of humor, but her early years of health challenges were difficult. Margaret did everything in her power to care and provide opportunities for the daughter she calls her “special gift from God.”
Over decades these women have inspired me with their courage, grit and faith. Loss and struggle didn’t make them bitter, instead it filled their hearts with more compassion for others and wisdom for how to navigate rough times.
I am deeply grateful for what they taught me – more by their actions than by their words. They never played the victim card in dealing with their own challenges. They found an inner core of strength, leaned into their faith and to sought to be of service to others.
Their friendship life jacketed me during those years before my son experienced his moment of clarity. And over the long- haul, Tina, Kathy and Margaret remain amazing forces in my life.
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