I work for a non-profit, helping those in poverty. One of the most important resources one can have to move out of poverty is to have relationships with those who can encourage and be an example in the journey. One of the initiatives I work with creates intentional friendships between those in poverty and those in middle class and wealth. Having social capital is crucial to moving out of poverty.

Friendships are also crucial part of moving along on our grief journey. I must tell you a story about how a friend saved me. I used to serve as an elected official and attended a Veterans Day program about two weeks after my husband died. The program was at the cemetery where he was buried and I was seated facing the audience. I was emotionally beaten and raw, but wanted to be supportive. I sat next to one of my colleagues, my beloved friend M.

I did pretty well until someone sang a song. It was a nice country song, but it spoke of death and birth, widowhood and missing loved ones. I began to feel major distress. “Oh no, I don’t want to start bawling in front of all these people. I have got to hold it together. Hurry, finish the song before the tears come!”, I said to myself. At this point, M leaned over and whispered to me:

“Last Sunday, my mother-in-law announced to the family I am expecting twins.”

I knew her mother-in-law had been ill and it had affected her cognitive functions. I pictured my sixty-something year old friend pregnant with twins, again. (She really did have twins). I smirked, I tried really hard not to laugh, especially with such an poignant song being performed. I must confess I did laugh. I asked her if I could throw a baby shower for her. M saw my distress and knew what to do. My dear friend saved the day!

Please, please turn to friends. I know you feel alone and you may not want to be with anyone. Please know there are people who care about you and want to help. Thank you, M, for being that kind of friend.