Family members are not the only ones who play a starring role in our emotional and spiritual well-being. There are times—when family is far away, when the nest is empty, or when family is gone—that good friends fill the gaps.
Friends can become as close as family members, especially if we live far away from our actual biological families. Many of us have friends that have stood by us throughout the years, sharing good times, bringing meals, and mopping up tears in times of sorrow. They are fixtures in our lives.
My grandmother wrote a loving poem in honor of her friend Martha Ellen Clark Gee (Aunt Ellen to us) entitled “Ellen of Virginia.” Much of her poem had to do with how heartbreaking it would be if her friend Ellen ever left Virginia. For my mother, also named Ellen, this was a very moving piece. She had always harbored doubts about leaving her home state of Virginia and living so far from her parents and was gratified to see that when she wasn’t able to be with her mother, a dear friend was.
Writing About a Friend
Writing about your feelings for a friend gives loved ones (your readers) insight into your development, regardless of whether it was a childhood or adult friendship. That doesn’t mean that you need to write about every friend you have, but consider writing about those friendship experiences that have helped mold you.
Beth, in the center, isn’t my biological sister, but note that we had matching night-gowns.
Another reason to write about friends: The simple fact that our loved ones tend to love the people who we love. We can develop an affection for a near stranger, based only on their relationship to someone we love.
For example, my mother had a friend named Nancy Green. I’ve never met Nancy, but I have a deep fondness for her. This grows not only out of the fact that they shared a childhood, but also from their shared passion for art and the fact that they managed to stay close for five decades.
Likewise, I have strong connections to some of the youth for whom my mother advocated as a child protection worker. I never knew their names, but, because my mom cared so deeply about them, I think about them from time to time and pray that they have found their paths to happiness.
Not a Competition
Before you start deliberating about which friend is “best,” realize that this is not a competition or ranking. It’s simply your feelings about someone and they role they play or have played in your life.
Try Writing About a Friend
Try writing down your memories of and reflections on a dear friend.
• Physical attributes
• Personality attributes
• How you met
• Bonds that you shared
• Why you treasure your friend
It can rhyme, be in simple prose, or an essay. The point is to convey some sense of this person to those who do (or did) not know him/her well.
Want to read an example of a writing about a dear friend? Read Laura of Laurens.
© Laura Hedgecock 2013