Faith’s best friend moved to California. In the weeks leading up to the move I could tell it was really rough on Faith. But I also kept reminding myself that she has lost a few friends due to illness in the past couple years, so a move we could handle. As the night of the goodbye approached I realized that this friendship, wasn’t the typical first-grade friendship, Havannah and Faith had something special.
Havannah’s mother told me she was sorry that they had decided to move. That they had seriously considered not making this major life change because of Faith. That she had dealt with so much in her short life, that she didn’t need anymore heartache. I contemplated whether the friendship in the end was a positive or negative for Faith, that it was one more loss and I wasn’t sure the pain was worth it. But the more I have learned about their friendship the more I am assured, the love was well worth the loss.
It may seem a bit silly that at seven years old you could find someone that you would consider a forever friend, but that’s what happened with these girls.
Faith is small. She wasn’t growing when she should have been, and her body doesn’t do what a normal body does with food. She’s most always the smallest child in the class. Havannah is tall. In fact, I am pretty sure she’s as tall as Will. When they are next to each other, Havannah looks like the older sister. What I have come to learn from Faith is that’s also how she acts, like an older sister.
The week before Havannah left, Faith asked me, Who is going to make sure I am safe when Havannah is gone? What I have found is that Faith’s belly is something the other kids at school are interested in getting a look at. Really, you can’t blame them. A colostomty bag isn’t something they are familiar with and they are just curious. Then there’s her feeding tube, and her apendicosty. Interesting stuff, and knowing the children at Faith’s school, it’s sweet innocence. But, Faith is far from the point of feeling like she can share her troubled belly with the world. It’s embarrassing to her, and she is very insecure about it. Havannah made sure that no one even asked about it. She handled it for Faith, and when I coached Faith on how she could handle it herself, she replied….Mom, sometimes you just can’t handle things alone.
Isn’t that what having a best friend is all about? Not handling anything alone. Once again, Faith is teaching me life’s lessons. This illness of my daughters has changed so much of me for the better, but there are things it has changed, that aren’t so great. I have always been a highly independent person, but very in touch with my best friends and telling them how I felt about everything important. I would say that is what has changed the most. I only tell certain friends, certain things now. There are a few that I share more with but for the most part, the really hard stuff that keeps me up at night, that makes me hurt all over I keep locked up in my head.
I try at times, to talk. But it seems there is not much anyone can say that can make me feel better, and depending on who it is I am talking to, the fear, the worry, and the helplessness I feel makes them feel just the same. And it leaves me wondering was the conversation even worth it.
Which leads me back to Faith and her insightful words about Havannah, sometimes you just can’t handle things alone.
She’s been gone nearly a month now, that’s four weekly dinners, many days of school, and lots of time out on the playground. Today Faith spent an incredible day with a family that loves her like she is their own. She told me tonight that it was the best day she’s had since Havannah has left, I asked her what is it you miss so much about Havannah? She lifted her shirt up and made a circular motion around her belly and says….Mom, Havannah doesn’t even see this.
I am so thankful that Havannah understands how to love so deeply at such a young age, and I am even more thankful she picked Faith to be her best friend. True friendship is all about knowing exactly what it is that your covering up, and loving you anyway.