Last night I was talking to someone about Theresa, and I said “I married my best friend”. The person I was talking to noted that she had never heard anyone say that before.
About a week ago, I learned that someone I know in my profession lost her husband. This woman and her husband had been together for about 45 years. They described themselves as “high school sweethearts”. Someone asked her how she was coping with the loss of her husband, and she said “I’m lost…..”
Several years ago, I attended a professional seminar on Recruiting and Retention. During the Retention part of the workshop, one of the presenters shared the results of a retention survey. She noted that one question on the survey was the most likely to indicate whether an employee was likely to stay at the company, or whether the employee was a “flight risk”.
The question was “Do you have a best friend at work?” People who answered that they had a best friend at work were much more likely to stay at that job than people who did not have a best friend at work.
Having a best friend is really important to me. I know it intuitively. I think it affects the quality of my life, and the quantity of my life.
Have you ever read a newspaper article about an elderly couple, where one of the couple passes away, and the spouse passes away a few hours later? I get that. I can see myself in my 90’s, near the end of my life (let’s talk about life expectancy, shall we?) and thinking “my time here is done” if I lose my best friend.
Have you ever seen a dead animal by the side of the road, and another of the same animal is there, looking? Best friends, I suppose. What else can you do but look and grieve?
During the pandemic, I saw several examples of the opposite of companionship. I don’t know what to call it exactly, but I will try “Loneliness”. Loneliness seems to be one of the most toxic experiences for people.
What is the greatest punishment we inflict on prisoners? Solitary Confinement.
When I first met Theresa, I was not thinking “best friends”. My Caveman Brain was thinking of something else. She knows that, everyone else knows that, now you know that too.
But somewhere along the way, that started to change. My lusty 20’s have gradually softened into a sensual 60’s. Time walking the streets of Paris while we hold hands, and walking our dog together, is as important as fooling around. I would not have said that when I was 20, but I do feel that now that I am 60.
I am travelling this weekend. I am writing this essay in a hotel room by myself. Today is “getaway day”, where I fly home to reconnect with my best friend.
Not everyone has a best friend. I know I am incredibly lucky to have one. I will leave you with a quote from the renowned philosopher Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.
I wish you peace.