The Gift of Friendship

Author: Natalia Beiser

I had a dear friend that could not understand my mood disorder; particularly the depression.  I tried diligently to explain it to her.  She could tell when I was down by the tone in my voice over the telephone.

My friend was a senior citizen and legally blind.  I was in my early thirties at the time.  She would make the sweetest offerings, such as, “I can tell that you are down, and I need to go out.  Why don’t you come and get me and we go out to dinner?”  And she would always want to make going out a true event, where she would request appetizers and dessert.

One day she really hurt me.  And I know with all of my heart that she did not mean to.  She said, “I cannot understand why someone who believes in God could get depressed.”  She then elaborated on the promises of God.

God made many promises, but he had not promised that I would not be depressed, often become suicidal, and experience social isolation and near catatonia.  At that time, I decided that as much as I loved her and our friendship that I must strongly distance myself from her, as she did not understand and I did not believe that I could do anything further to get her to understand.

A few years transpired, and I received a letter in the mail from my friend, indicating that she had lost track of me and you could tell by the content of the letter that she truly cared and wanted to know how I was doing.

I was doing better.  I had since gone on disability, which helped my mood disorder a great deal.  I had also begun a medication regimen that helped me to overcome the severe depression that I had previously experienced.

Finally, I went to her house unannounced.  Her son cheerfully greeted me at the car.  I remember asking him if I would have to “eat crow” for not coming around for so long.  He said that would not be the case.

My friend was truly glad to see me.  I explained to her with candor and honesty why I had been away so long.  She said that she understood and in the period of time that I had been inattentive, she had experienced her own depressive feelings and could greater relate to the feelings that I commonly experience.

We had a nice, easygoing friendship until her final days.  She taught me so much about being a better person, what it was like to experience blindness and the faith in humanity that one obtains when having that disability.  She taught me simple things – how to make an omelet, how to track the value and price of quality clothing, the benefits of classic cuts of clothing, and so much more.  She made every outing seem like an event, even if it were just an everyday event to most people.  I often thought that it was because she did not get out of the house as often as many do.

In many cases, friendships grow during distances.  I believe in our case that the time apart caused us to not develop animosity towards each other and to understand each other’s issues.  I do miss her and the gift of friendship and understanding that she provided to me.

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