Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Mom and I have had this running discussion about the meaning of friendship. She says that a friend will die for you and the only person who will die for you is your mother. Therefore, your mother is your only friend.
We discussed this again tonight. Since Dad died, Mom wants nothing more than to die. I understand that, but it makes her whole definition of a mother willingly dying for her children suspect. By her definition, she is no longer a friend to her children because if one of us was in danger of dying, she would gladly put herself in the way of the bullet or whatever death dealing instrument was coming at us to end her life. It's suicide and it's a sin, according to the way she believes, and it's also selfish. I don't think the definition of friendship includes being selfish.
Mom said no one would die for her and I said it depended on a couple of things, like whether or not I was incapacitated to the point that I have no quality of life. In that case, yeah, I'd die for her. It's selfish. It's assisted suicide. By her definition, it makes me her friend. Or not.
Despite her closed mind about many things, religion included, I do manage to get her to see things in a different light and from a different perspective sometimes. More often than not we end up arguing and I suddenly find that I have work to do or a burning need to go to the bathroom, take something off the stove or out of the oven or answer the door. I don't have call waiting (that's a post for another time) so I can't use that excuse. My views on that subject are very well known.
My definition of friendship is much less rigid and doesn't require anyone dying, especially me. A friend is someone who listens when you need to vent, tells you when you're off the track and out of your mind or just plain wrong, supports you when you need a shoulder or a helping hand, kicks you in the bum when you need it, and makes you laugh when you're being far too serious. They also show you their soft underbelly and make you feel safe enough to show yours. Friends have a secret language made up of snippets of inside jokes that no one would get but that will spark gales of laughter. Friends also don't fear getting angry and losing their temper because when their right mind returns their friend will still be there. Friends care about one another. Even though there are no vows for friends, a good friend is there for you for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death or the paths you travel together go in different directions. With really good friends, you pick up right where you left off no matter how many miles or years lie between.
I doubt there are any of my friends who are so sick of life or in so much pain that they'd offer their lives for mine, but in a dangerous situation you just never know. I don't need someone to die for me to know they're a friend. I know every time they make me laugh.
"And you got to talk to me."
What she said.
This one is for you, Lynn.