Monday, August 15, 2011

F is for “Fellowship," By Judy Brandemihl

I have already posted this story once on this blog -- it was when we were freshly grieving the loss of our dear friend, Judy Brandemihl. Since I am going through the alphabet stories now, it is time to publish it again. I hope it reminds us to treasure the moments we have with those who mean the most to us. ~ Bonnie

         Where would I have been without the fellowship of my friends from memoir writing class?
        You see, when we get older, friends (true friends) become more and more important. We’re retired for the most part, so we don’t have the daily interaction with co-workers, customers and associates that we once took for granted. Sadly, too, we often outlive our mates and sometimes many family members. Now too many of us live alone and depend on our Senior Center for a social life and the Memoir Writing class is the perfect place to find the very best of it. My husband and I are fortunate enough to still have one another’s companionship. Still, we need outside interests. I joined the memoir writing group several years ago and last year my husband joined me. Now he’s hooked and can’t wait for each Thursday afternoon with our friends there.
        At our memoir writing class we not only exchange the mundane news of our week, we share our memories and our pasts. No, that’s not exactly it; what we share is our lives. Those folks who were once strangers that we might have passed without pause are now some of our closest friends. We freely confess our fears and our faults, knowing we will not be judged or ridiculed. We are among true friends, and they are like family. As in any family, there are some that we’re closer to than others, but they’re all there for you when you need them. They’re happy for you and sad for you. They celebrate with you and pray for you. They’re all a dear part of my life each week, and without them I’d feel as if I had lost my family.
        We write our stories and exercise our brains at the same time. We laugh and we cry. We joke, encourage and give advice. We need and are needed. We’re not only writing our memoirs, we’re creating them.
        In 2004, when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, my friends from class were there for me, giving me their support during the next difficult eight months. Just knowing this was a big part of my recovery.
        Then, earlier this year, they were there for me again, this time to celebrate when I won a memoir-writing contest for the Long Beach Press Telegram. They didn’t allow me to stay shyly in the background. No, not them. They collected copies of the newspaper, asked for my autograph and praised my writing to any who would listen. My victory was their victory.
        They are my classmates, yes, but even more they are my friends. Of course, more than anything, they are my “family,” and I’d hate to think of not spending each Thursday afternoon with them I’d hate to think that I wasn’t able to be there for them when they needed me.

1 comment:

  1. Judy was truly a friend to all. I will never forget her.