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What Makes a Friend

by Allie LampePatient, Colorectal CancerMarch 13, 2024View more posts from Allie Lampe

What makes a friend?

It’s a question you’ve probably been asked before in some hypothetical or philosophical type of way. Have you ever really had to answer the question, “What makes a friend,” though? 

I imagine the moment I found out I had cancer is the moment I inadvertently started answering this. For me, a friend is the first person I needed to call. Aside from the obvious family and friends who were there with me in that moment, a friend is the first person I needed to pick up the phone and talk to. My friend, Casey, was on a family girls’ trip, and I knew she wasn’t due home for two days. I hesitated, I questioned, I felt horrible about telling her, but also about not telling her. I sent her a text and asked if I could just talk to her for a moment. She instantly called me back and she knew it wasn’t good. In this day and age with most communication coming in the form of texting, a phone call means something. I told her, and the phone call lasted but a brief moment. There wasn’t much to say, there wasn’t much to do. She breathed in and out, I could tell she was trying to not lose her mind. I didn’t know much, but did for certain know from that moment on that I would never have to hesitate in telling her anything ever again. She was beyond present. 

In my cancer journey, I was traveling through COVID times, so she was very rarely there for me in person. My friend though, recalled every appointment, remembered every scan, asked about every blood test. It was as simple as me mentioning I wasn’t going to be at work on a certain day and her probably programming it into her phone calendar as a reminder. But that simple bit of technology and a whole lot of love behind it made me feel never alone. She knew when to say nothing, and when to say everything. She never made me feel bad for talking endlessly about the same topic again and again. She wanted details, she wanted the news. She didn’t shy away from the good, the bad, the ugly. She told me like it was. She didn’t say, “Your hair doesn’t look too bad.” She said, “Yep, you’re losing a lot this month, want to go to the salon?” It was in the honesty that I knew this one, this one right here, was a keeper. You need a friend in hard times who can tell you like it is. A friend who can give it to you straight. With a whole lot of love, intention, and admiration behind it. She fought for me just as hard as I felt like I was fighting. She was what made me believe in the universe. Believe in a higher power, because it couldn’t be by accident that I got so lucky as to have her in my life.

That is what makes a friend. I can only hope everyone has a Casey in their life.

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