I was able to hold the lovely coin that Maria gave me for two months. It sat on my desk, reminding me that friendship is a gift and that I should mindful and thankful of the friends in my life. Maria is one of those friends. Although I have not known her long, she has made a profound impact on my life. Her energy, positive thinking, and wisdom are the things I value the most, and her willingness to SHOW UP in life. Given who I am, the work I do (social justice speaking and writing, and recent health needs, having someone who shows up-without question and without judgement, is so important. Maria is one of those rare people in my life.

So, to honor Maria, I passed the butterfly onto one of my oldest friends this past weekend. Mari Jon and I have known each other for over forty years. I could say a lot about what we've done in those forty years, but I'd need a ton more room. Instead, I'll say that MJ has always shown up-literally and figuratively in those four decades. We have been young together, challenged together, silly together, mothers together, and now graciously aging (somewhat on the aging) women together. At a critical point in my younger life, she helped me journey through a difficult relationship and was there the moment I said "come and get me", as I finally gathered the strength to leave. I can tell her anything and know that she will respond, if needed, out of love, caring, and grace. And, she knows when to just listen and honor my experience.
Like Maria, MJ was a very early and constant supporter when I recovered from knee replacement surgery. Maria and MJ both held my hand during PT sessions (where I cried and cried out), sat and kept me company, and brought me food and gifts that helped me recover. MJ lives about 90 minutes away. I call seeing her "therapy", because she always gives me energy, courage, and perspective needed to move forward. We laugh a lot together. We've cried, but less often. I know MJ will be there until the end, and for that I am thankful.
This past weekend I met MJ at one of our favorite coffee shops in her town. As we ordered and admired the FABULOUS cakes and baked goods in the case, I discreetly added a gift certificate to my check. MJ can now enjoy coffee and treats this summer. I look forward to having her in my life as we enter the fall of our years.

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