The Blessing of Friends

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days I’ve had in my life. Yesterday I attended the funeral of one of my dearest and oldest friends, truly a member of my extended family. Someone I loved, and adored.

At her funeral, my first cousin followed the casket with the traditional bowl of sweetened rice and a single candle. It was eighteen years ago that we were all at the same church for my friend’s wedding. That day we celebrated a new chapter of her life, yesterday we honored her memory on her last procession in life.

As my cousin followed her best friend’s casket, it struck me how precious and important our friendships and girlfriends are in this journey. That God has placed them there.

Family is a treasure beyond measure. More precious than diamonds, rubies, emeralds. Those gems we marvel and accrue for centuries. Family is unquantifiable.

When my friend’s mother wept at her daughter’s grave and couldn’t dislodge herself from the sight of her daughter’s last resting place, it was her dearest friend, my aunt, that came to her side and helped guide her away. It was her friend that moved her along.

There is still life to attend to, there is still family that needs to be loved. Friends are the ones that remind us that there is still life to be lived, one step at a time, through the sorrow and pain.

Friends are the angels God has given us through a lifetime, flawed and beautiful, but the sustaining embrace to shelter, and to celebrate with us. Friends are the witnesses and the participants of our lives. Friends wrap us in their wings and hold us closer, shutting out the darkness, and reminding us that we are loved, that we are not alone, and never will be alone.

We gathered yesterday, family and friends, to celebrate the life of our departed, sweet, beloved soul. And even in her death, my dear friend has taught me something invaluable: The beauty, strength, and blessing of friendships. I’ve always known it, but yesterday it was revealed to me that God places these human angels in our lives to accompany us along this journey, to remind us of life, of beauty, of strength and ultimately of love.

Her friendship is a divine gift for me, and I have learned so much. I know these things in my head, but my heart is learning to live them. I’ve learned to embrace the moment, to smile more often and genuinely, and to travel more. I feel the immense blessing of her wisdom in my heart and in my soul.

I am blessed to have called her my friend, that sweet, beloved and joyful soul that left us one week ago. I loved her, I still love her, and I will always love her.

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