Op/Ed

A true friend

Editor’s note: Jenn Mayhew of Bristol wrote this piece about her friendship with Faith Stone for a contest that the Independent ran. It arrived too late for consideration in the contest, but it was so sweet that we are publishing it here to share with the community a lovely tribute to friendship.

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The age old saying “Your friends are the family you get to choose” is something that I think about a lot when it comes to my friendship with Faith. It’s funny how life can bring about the most unlikely of friendships and my connection with Faith is certainly something I never expected, but have come to treasure very much.

Looking back at the start of our relationship, we laugh at a very turbulent beginning of meeting at a recovery center. I am grateful that our friendship flourished during some of my hardest months of being a new mother. Not only was I feeling isolated and abandoned by a community of people I had become accustomed to seeing every day, I was now caring after a new human who required my 100% attention. Faith was one of a few friends who reached out and pulled me from my post-partum darkness into the light of sweet summer in Vermont. Camping for the first time (for Faith and 3-month-old), paddling on the lake, banana bread (with chocolate chips), and the county fair are memories I will not soon forget.

Faith is a woman of extraordinary courage. Every day she overcomes and conquers fears that I could not imagine. Nelson Mandela once said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I have often used the metaphor of the mountain in my life and Faith has taught me much about what it means to take courage and be a good friend. In some of the darkest days Faith was there to listen. Instead of offering me advice, she would say, “I understand where you are at.”

As we celebrate the day of Love, Valentine’s Day, it is my wish that everyone might have a friend as special as Faith to share it with.

Jennifer Mayhew

Bristol

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