When you come to hard times in your life, and I have known many, it really is true that you discover who your real friends are.
It has always been hard for me to understand why ‘friends’ do not stay around when one of a couple dies. Three times I have seen my circle of friends evaporate soon after losing my wife. People we had counted as friends suddenly were almost afraid to speak to me when my wife was no longer there. It didn’t seem to matter who had first ‘made friends’ with them, whether it was my wife or myself made no difference. Even colleagues at work tried to distance themselves.
During much of my illness I have also seen that friends tend to make all the right noises but very few of them stick around to help in any way – even if it is just to spend a little time chatting.
Maybe I have been collecting only fair weather friends?
Maybe the people I have known were not as robust as I am and maybe they simply don’t know how to handle a situation that involves grief and/or pain?
Whatever my situation, there have always been some true, loyal friends I could count on. They would offer me comfort. They would offer me companionship and they would try to ensure that I was never lonely. They have never asked for anything in return and, no matter how miserable or off-hand with them I was, they have always given me 100% of themselves.
They are my dogs.