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Are You a Fair Weather Friend?

[ 8 ] February 27, 2013 |


female friends, death, widow, losing a husband, providing comfort, being a true friend, midlife tragedy, grieving, widow

Be the friend you’d want to have in your time of need.

This has been a bad week for two good friends. Tracy broke her clavicle in three places body boarding in Mexico. Hali’s husband passed away tragically Sunday. She fell in love with him and married late in life only to have to let go of him just after their third wedding anniversary.

Tuesday’s 12-inch snowstorm prevented me from making it to his visitation and mass, but I skipped my arts council meeting tonight for a client so I could be there for Hali at the post-funeral visitation.

We’ve been friends for more than 20 years and I wanted her to know I would be there for her now, tomorrow and the next day. To my surprise some friends that have known her just as long passed on the opportunity. Some for good reason and others for reasons that made me question their priorities.

Before I cast the first stone, let me say I used to be that person who had questionable priorities. I was self-absorbed and didn’t attend, or stubbornly attended, funerals, communions, graduations, weddings, receptions, or swim meets. My excuses were lame, usually work related, and nothing I’m proud of looking back

Truth was I hadn’t yet placed the same value on other people’s sorrows, accomplishments, losses, gains, children or milestones as my own. And for that I’m very sorry.

I believe my life would be richer and more complete if I had learned or grown into being the woman I am today, earlier.


Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but any one can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson


How to Be a Good Friend During the Bad Times

Toni Hassenpflug taught me all I need to know about being a friend. She cares deeply, accepts others for who they are, and has a packed calendar because of her commitment to being there for her family, granddaughters and countless friends.

For this and so many other reasons, Toni had standing room only at her 60th birthday party. Co-workers who hadn’t seen her in decades showed up. Others drove miles to be there for her that day. Adoration and respect poured freely throughout the evening and that is something I’ll never forget.

In the spirit of being that type of friend, remember these simply things. It’s a list I had to learn the hard way over the years.

  1. Unless you’re the president of the United States in the middle of a nuclear attack, your work can wait.
  2. A card is nice, but a kiss or hug delivered in person is priceless.
  3. You don’t have to know what to say. Your body language will speak volumes.
  4. Presence, not presents.
  5. A celebration not shared is deeply diluted.
  6. Tell your friends every chance you get, no matter the occasion, how special they are to you, how much you love them, and how important their contributions are because life is short. If you cancel that coffee or movie date with them, what if there isn’t a rain check?

 At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”  Barbara Bush

Call your mom, your husband, your best friend, your son, daughter, or your grandmother and tell him or her it’s been too long. Let’s talk, meet, celebrate, go on a trip. Do it.




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Category: Health & Happiness

Comments (8)

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  1. Beautiful thoughts. Especially for this blogger who gets absorbed by too many details!

  2. What a great reminder. It isn’t about me–it is always about someone else. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Haralee says:

    Such good advise!

    • Thanks Haralee. Juggling adulthood and obligations is challenging and certainly can be exhausting but I now find being with my friends in good times or bad is really all life it about. Thanks for commenting. I so appreciate it.

  4. Kathleen Benton says:

    Hi, I’m also a friend of Toni, although not as long as the two of you go back. I’ve been fortunate to include her in my circle of friends. Life changes bring many people into your life – some positive influences, some negative. They will all make a difference in how we view our world; and provide growth and strength, if we allow it to happen. I’ve learned to let go of toxic people and my time and energies on the great positive people in my life, like Toni and my 84 year old friend who is dealing with breast cancer with such grace and peace. I just turned 73 this year and am happier and more peaceful with my life than I can ever remember. I still work full time in a very fulfilling job that allows the flexibility to take in all my grand children’s activities – work from anywhere I happen to be and have no plans of retiring.

    I love your blog and look forward to keeping up with your writings. Saw your appearance on The Job, you have far greater things going for you than that job!

    • Kathleen, so nice to meet you and aren’t we fortunate enough to be Toni’s friends. I’m so glad you are in a good place in your life now and prayer for strength and healing for your friends with breast cancer. The statistic of one in three women getting some kind of cancer in their lifetime is astonishing. We need to take good care of our selves, souls, and diets. My friend Johanna has even gotten rid of her microwave because of the talk of its cancer causes waves — something I’ll be blogging on soon. Take care and enjoy today’s sunshine. I look forward to hearing more of your comments in the future.

  5. Isi says:

    Very timely advice, thanks Brenda. There are a few people in my life right now who could do with emotional support and rather than erring on the side of “I don’t want to intrude” I’m going to reach out and be supportive.

    And another thing: this is the second time in two days that I’ve read the Maria Robinson quote. I think the universe is trying to tell me something. 😉

    • Good for you for going the distance and reaching out during “sensitive” times. You could make all the difference in their lives right now. That’s significant.

      And yes, we see and hear what we need to see and hear just in the nick of time. Last week I met with a woman who volunteered to advise me for free in a 1-hour consultation. Denise was so comforting and knowledgeable. She got me back on track quick. When I left her office, I turned to a marquee near where I was parked and the sign said, “You’ve Got a Friend.”

      And indeed I do. And so do you. Many, many.

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