Tribute To A Special Friendship
Jane Johnson was one of the best people I’ve ever known … not because she raised three boys and one girl who became active, solid members of their communities, and not because she volunteered at her church and the local grange, or because she was a farm wife, supporting her husband as he tended his acres, or because she drove across the country to visit her children and friends long into her senior years.
No, I admire Jane because she befriended people with fear at their core.
Popular culture tells us to drop toxic people. For instance, Elizabeth Gilbert quoted David Whyte: “Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” Frightened people don’t bring us alive.
Jane stayed friends with my husband’s mother, Marge, a prickly, grand lady, who was afraid. Marge sometimes complained about Jane when their friendship strained; but Jane stayed, despite the disputes and sharp words, despite Marge’s being bedridden. She held Marge’s hand when she died.
Jane befriended me when I was afraid. She listened without judgment, even if what I said was ugly, while I helped Marge that last six months. She calmed me like a mother calms a crying child.
But, typical of someone with a busy life, I let our friendship slide, something I regret. Jane was still a friend in this, in letting go of both Marge and me.
I’m Katie Andraski, and this is my perspective