In the spirit of reflection of the past two years, one thing that easily comes to mind is that this journey hasn't been all about me. It wasn't all about Ethan. Our journey involved so many wonderful (and not so wonderful) friends, family members, doctors, nurses, techs, and surgeons. The incredible opportunity to learn about people was right at my feet, and you better believe I took it.
I had a nurse that insisted on allowing my family to break the rules and keep as many people sleeping in my hospital floor that wanted to. I had a nurse that ran to the store, spent her own money on Pop-Tarts because she overheard me say that was the one thing that I felt like wouldn't make me throw up. I had a nurse that found Ethan's heartbeat at any time of day that I asked. I had a nurse that hugged my mother when they took me back to surgery. I had a nurse that held my hand and did nothing else but whisper calming things to me throughout my first surgery. I had a nurse that sat with me for hours when I couldn't sleep. One of my nurses has even become one of my most beloved friends. None of these nurses I have mentioned were the same person.
I had family that slept in the floor for days, waiting for good news. They missed out on work, out on time for things they enjoy, out on their own comfort. I had the best doctors and surgeons in the country working to make sure we were ok. I had everything I needed. The people I never once doubted would continue to follow through with being right there. Somehow, somehow, I managed to be lucky enough to find loyalty in my friends as well.
After my wedding, I came to the realization that you need your friends desperately when bad things happen, and almost just as desperately when good things are happening. I needed my friends to want to celebrate with me, to be excited and happy with me, to want to ask the exciting questions. There were only a few. A few that I felt I had finally figured out who were my true friends, and who were just fun to be around.
When I got sick, I found myself in the same situation. I needed my friends to cry with me, to listen, to not pretend like they understand. Interestingly enough, the ones that had celebrated with pure joy and excitement just a few years back, the ones I had thought were absolutely as true as they could get, were no where to be found. The ones that I had doubted, had been hurt by, and almost written off completely stepped in. And amazingly enough, those are the ones that still stand beside me today.
I had friends that drove up to 8 hours in one single night to spend 45 minutes with me just because Jason told them I needed something only they could give. I had friends bring me the wackiest things I could ever imagine just so I would laugh for a minute and try to forget what was happening. Mind you, it was December in Kentucky/Tennessee. Snow on the ground, ice warnings, finals, jobs, it didn't matter. Two of my dearest friends made it happen. I still feel overwhelmed with emotion when I remember the nights they walked through those hospital doors. It still makes me cry, and it still makes me wonder how they would ever understand how much my heart overflowed (figuratively this time) that they were willing to do that.
In the days to come during my recovery, I spent a lot of time thinking about these grand gestures made from my friends and family. I again reflected on true friendships, friendships that meant more than just dinners together on random weeknights. I began to feel that the ones I felt were my truest friends in my last large milestone weren't quite my friends at all, and I had seriously mistaken some of the friends I doubted. It was only until recently did it make sense to me.
True does not always mean forever. Relationships that are filled with love, loyalty, and care are true friendships that go so far beyond the surface. That doesn't make them forever. My true friends during the days of me upcoming marriage may no longer be a part of my daily life, but that doesn't mean they were never my true friend. True and forever are two completely different categories. I have always considered myself lucky when I find the depth of a true friend, and I often forget that doesn't mean the friendship will last forever. Sometimes they fade, and while it sucks, it's ok.
Finding both a true and a forever friend in the same person? Now there, there, is your diamond in the rough. A deep friendship is so often misinterpreted as a forever friendship and completely heartbreaking when it fizzles. It's easy to believe that someone that is right there with you during your milestones (positive or negative) that they are in your elite club of diamonds.
People come and go, milestones will show you who is willing to be apart of your "true blue" club, but it's the moments in between that show you where your diamonds can be found. We will always have ups and downs, we will always have life-changing events that will define how we view our world, but I've quickly found it's the moments of a quiet, straight line instead of a wavy one that reveal who will always be there.