"Make each day useful and cheerful and prove that you know the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be happy, old age without regret and life a beautiful success."
It was by invitation only.
Every single Friday, a group of four women met for lunch. Usually, they either had Chinese food, hamburgers, or salads. However, it really did not matter what the cuisine was; rather, it was the friendship and support they derived from each other that was important.
Throughout the years there had been plenty of happy occasions that would be the center of discussion around their Friday meal; however, there also had been so much sorrow and sadness discussed around the table, throughout the many restaurant meals.
When Helen discussed the upcoming marriage of her son, all four were so generally happy and proud. However, when Carol was sharing her pain in regard to her sister-in-law's recurring cancer all in the "lunch group" got the same lumps in their throats.
When Allene's daughter made wedding plans at a Caribbean hotel all were happy; however when the wedding day happened to coincide with the arrival of a hurricane on the island, not too many of the family and guests were pleased. (However, fortunately, the wedding was moved to another location on the mainland and the bride and groom eventually had smiles on their faces--and everyone as well.)
One of the group's members, Toby, experienced a trauma when her son was involved in a near-fatal injury; however, she, too, eventually returned to the group. And Toby, her family, and her son are doing well -- partly due to the support of the "lunch group."
I think that the "lunch group" learned many years ago that "Life is not fair;" however, it is important to "play the hand you are dealt the best you can."
That attitude was vital when Helen's husband became ill with dementia. For a few years, she lived with him in their home, taking care of him. Then, when the illness became even more severe, he had to be hospitalized, eventually going to a nursing home. For more than a year, Helen went daily to that facility. She wanted to make sure her husband was as happy as he could be, doing the best she could "with the cards she had been dealt." But she was not alone. Every day, she had family and friends with her and her husband at the nursing home; however, not on Friday afternoons during lunch time. On Fridays, after she made sure that her husband had his meal, guess where she would go? You guessed it - she would be with her "lunch group."
All four were always ready to do anything necessary for the other three. (That is the true meaning of "friendship.") However, one day the group could do nothing but cry as one of the four, Allene, passed away. She had been so ill for so long, but three things were a certainty: she was always smiling; she never complained; and -- she always made her Friday "lunch group" with the other three.
There was an empty seat that Friday when the others decided to return to their ritual. However, the others seemed to be able to feel a "spirit" at Allene's empty chair. At first, there were many tears around the table; however, soon there was a feeling of comfort. I think Allene would have wanted the group to continue. In fact, everyone who knew her believed that; she was that kind of special person.
The four were, and are, all wonderful in their own special ways; however, they all possess such loving hearts, caring souls, and were, and are, friends to the end. True friends are so important.
The members of the "lunch group" were, and are, so very lucky as they will always have each other -- forever.
Michael Jordan Segal ©2008
Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, freelance author (including a CD/Download of 12 stories, read with light backgroud music, entitled POSSIBLE), and inspirational speaker, sharing his recipe for happiness, recovery and success before conferences and businesses. To contact Mike or to order his CD, please visit www.InspirationByMike.com as well as checking out his youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNeRqpaoNpQ.