Lifelong friendships, multigenerational friendships, and International Friendship Day

Thanks to fellow blogger Natalie at The Hot Goddess, I recently learned that July 30 is International Friendship Day this year.  That was yesterday! International Friendship Day is designated by the UN General Assembly as a day to celebrate those friendships that we hold close and to give thanks for these relationships that are so important in our lives, which bring happiness and comfort.  With that special date in mind, if there had to be a funeral of a very close, very long-time friend, it certainly was fitting that it took place on International Friendship Day.

IntlFriendshipDay

My husband and I – and our friends – have reached the age where these sad events are inevitable; they come with increasing frequency. Comfort does come with remembering the contributions a departed friend has made to your life and to the life of others, it really does. A life well lived. That was certainly the case with the dear friend whose life we’ve mourned and celebrated the past few days. Those remembrances of fun times, of shared times, and of so many acts of kindness are a tonic to our sadness.

This friend we’ve just lost has been a permanent fixture in our lives for a little more than 50 years.  We met as new Moms when our firstborns were 6 months old.  They’re older now! And their brothers, who were born 3 years later, have been friends since birth. The remarkable thing is that although none of those boys (all right, men) stayed in their home town after graduation, they’ve remained close friends throughout. Very close. Friends for life.  And the younger sons live in the same town, so their children also know each other well.  Three generations of friendships.

As I sat in the church pew yesterday – on International Friendship Day – I spent a lot of time thinking about this long history of close, close bonds between and among the three generations of our families. I watched the family, seated in the front pew a few rows ahead of us, as they comforted and supported each other in their grief, and thought of all those years of shared experiences, shared concerns, shared sorrows, and shared celebrations – of weddings, of new babies and grandbabies, of new jobs, of shared holidays and travels. I thought of other families sitting nearby with whom we’ve also been close friends for decades. All there to honour the life of our friend. There with their kids, who we’ve known throughout their lives, many of whom are greying now and have brought their own kids.  The strength of all those bonds of friendship, in our case over a very long time, has brought a richness to all our lives. It strikes me that this is the very essence of what International Friendship Day is meant to be about.

One of the activities recommended to do with kids on International Friendship Day is to discuss what makes a friend. What a great activity. I’m going to give it a try from my perspective as an old person; my guess is that the answers are pretty well the same regardless of age.

  • A friend is someone you can count on, someone you can trust. They’re always there for you.
  • A friend is someone who understands you and respects that you don’t always have to agree or always like the same thing.
  • A friend is someone you really like doing things with. Sometimes just talking. Or just listening.
  • A friend is someone you can fight with sometimes but you always make up.
  • A friend is someone who’ll stick up for you.
  • Friendships grow stronger and stronger from shared experiences, in both good times and bad.

Did I miss anything?

There is little in life more important to our emotional well-being that having a friend. Reach out to someone with the hand of friendship; that’s what Louise would do.

RIP-Louise

RIP, Louise.

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31 Responses to Lifelong friendships, multigenerational friendships, and International Friendship Day

  1. Brigitte says:

    Thank you for this blog. A very good reminder, and yes, Louise set a wonderful example for all of us.
    We will miss her.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Well spoken Jane. I guess the best thing you can say about a departed friend is that the world was a better place for them having been in it – you can’t say that about everyone. Strangely I’ve not been to many funerals in recent years but I imagine they’ll be coming along like buses shortly.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      What a significant point: the best thing you can say about a departed friend is that the world was a better place for them having been in. So true, so very true. I hope funerals won’t be coming along like buses for you, Roy, but I love the expression!

  3. Pingback: The Test of Relationships – Connection

  4. Bernie says:

    So sorry for your loss Jane. She sounds like a wonderful person and the interconnected webs of your families will keep her memory alive. I imagine it’s so hard to lose a close friend like that. I met my best friend I was 9 months old and she was just born. 63 years later we still share it all. My nursing friends, my twisted sisters as well call ourselves, celebrate 45 years of friendship this fall. What a run we’ve had. The item I would add to your list ‐- sometimes our friends know us better than we know ourselves and can help us find our way. That’s the role my other half is to me (and many more things of course). Again my condolences. Take care and allow yourself time to grieve. Bernie

  5. So very sorry! How hard it is to lose a dear friend. What history you two had and wonderful to think of how the friendship even extended to your children.

  6. A beautiful post, Jane, and my condolences to you and your family.

  7. My deepest sympathy for the death of your friend, Jane. Here’s to cherished memories of lifelong friends. 💜

  8. What wonderful thoughts about friendship, and a nice tribute to Louise. I also enjoyed your grudging references to the fact that the boys have grown up (“all right, men”). 🙂 It’s heartening to know that they too have remained life-long friends. – Marty

  9. Margaret says:

    A lovely post Jane ❤️
    Sending heartfelt condolences from afar. We experienced similar two years ago and yes, true friends are always there, whether near or far. The ones who walk the walk and are there for one another. Always to be treasured.
    RIP Louise.

  10. Rose says:

    Such wonderful words on friendship. Friendships deserve special holidays. I have several best friendships lasting over 40 years. I’m only able to meet with my best friend from high school once or twice a year, but we often have weekly phone calls – which are absolute life savers on the most difficult of days. I’ve met with my best friend from college a lot less since Covid began. But on our most recent meeting, it’s like no time has passed – we’re the same as we’ve always been. Even though we’ve all endured tremendous ups and downs and changes, the reasons we became friends and remain friends are the same – the kindness, the authenticity, the shared hopes and dreams for ourselves and our families and the future, the uplifting supportive heart-to-hearts… – those things don’t change. I count my husband as my very best friend, some people don’t count spouses as friends, but we are such a perfect fit, friendship is natural for us. I can’t imagine losing one of my best friends. As we get older and battle more chronic illnesses and pain… I don’t know how I’d handle the loss of a best friend. Thank-you Jane for pointing out how positive memories can help be a tonic to our sadness.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I love your comment, Rose. It sounds like you have some very close friends who help sustain you. That’s what true friends do. And you and I have something in common: I consider my husband to be my very best friend as well. 💕

  11. I’m so sorry, Jane. Prayers for you and Louise’s family. 🤍

  12. Linda Sprague says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to have met my closest friend when we were each 4 years old and I still see her nearly every day. Her health is poor now and I feel so privileged to have kind of bond where she feels safe enough to share her darkest fears. And thank you for your lovely tribute to wonderful Louise.

  13. So very sorry for the loss of your friend, Jane.

    Deb

  14. I often start my replies to your blogs with ‘thank-you’ because you express so well feelings that I share. Thanks, Jane, and condolences on the death of your friend, Louise.

    When we were kids, it was easier to make friends cause they were in our class or lived next door. As adults it is not as easy but once made it is wonderful to keep them. You and Louise were very fortunate. I met you 48 years ago and am so glad we reconnected via Facebook to rekindle our friendship. Wayne and I plan on being in Fredericton in September, first time since March 2020, I hope we can get together. Again we are staying with a mutual old friend, Janet Moss. Perhaps all of us could have lunch together.
    J

  15. Thanks Jane, this is very poignant and so well written. It is indeed a blessing to have friends and especially life long ones with the extended families. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Emilia says:

    Your post brought tears to my eyes, again!
    Yes, I think you missed one point in your description of friendship : “A friend is someone you don’t want to part with” but so is the nature of life, a friend just gone .
    Yes, RIP Louise.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thank you, good friend. You provide an excellent addition. But we do always hold our good friends in our heart, whether we’re together or apart. ❤️😊

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