I Believe in Angels. . . but I Call Them My Best Friends!
by Channing Thomson
(San Francisco, CA USA)
"I believe in angels, the kind Heaven sends. I am surrounded by angels, but I call them my best friends." Unknown
I've always loved this quote about friendship. It reminds me of when I was a little boy. I was living in the Southwest US with my family during the 1970s.
We had my father and mother, my four sisters and brothers, and my grandmother. My grandmother was well into her eighties and in failing health. Unfortunately, there came a time when she had to leave the family home and be placed in a rest home. This brought up all kinds of issues for my own mother. She felt simultaneously guilty and distraught, yet relieved.
It was a rich and difficult assortment of feelings for her that would take a while to work out. Of course, it wasn't like grandmother was going to be put into the nursing home and left there never to see any of us again. However, both my parents worked full-time and were raising five young kids. They did their best to juggle all of this but would find it hard to keep grandmother fully in the picture and didn't want her to feel left out and abandoned.
At just this very time, a friend of my mother's came along; her name was Alma. She was a strong Methodist woman (also my grandmother's religion) who seemed to appear out of the blue one day. She developed a very strong relationship with both my mother and my grandmother.
Alma was a simple woman with her own family issues and problems, but good spirited and always wanting to help. Over the next ten years or so, until my grandmother's death, Alma would constantly be available to spend time with her, taking her places, going with her to church, lunching with her, offering her a shoulder to cry on and some one to talk to when she was lonely. She developed a strong relationship with my grandmother and really helped alleviate some of the time and stress constraints on my parents.
I know my mother appreciated her for being a good friend to both her and to her mother. She kind of appeared out of nowhere, and became a sort of angel to us all. We'll never forget all that Alma did for our family -- a true friend. By the way, Alma is the Spanish word for soul -- she was just that, a good soul!