Did You Know By Cookie

When friendship was suggested for our Masquerade of Words weekly topic, I knew exactly what I was going to write about. I thought this is going to be the easiest topic I ever do.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. It has turned out to be the most difficult one so far.

My first thought was to share with you the story about my best friend, Diana. I met Diana when I was a young girl, and through a very difficult time we managed to become best friends. I sat beside her for several years watching her battle against bone cancer. I learned the meaning of helplessness, but most of all I learned the true meaning of courage and strength. My best friend Diana died seventeen days after her sweet sixteenth birthday. She has been gone for thirty-five years and the loss is still as deep as it was the day she left us. I find myself not able to find the words to tell you what her friendship meant to me and still does.

So I decided I would share with you how Ankylosing Spondylitis has affected my friendships through out my life. I was going to share with you how one of my close friends said, “You know what, your life is such a drag Cookie. You are always sick or hurting or have a tragedy in your life. I just can’t deal with it.” I ended my conversation with her by saying that I am sorry my life is so difficult for you. I hung up the phone and never spoke to her again. I worked beside her for many years never saying a word. She abandoned me during one of the hardest times of my life. I had just lost eleven people I cared for that year. I was battling one of my worst flares of Ankylosing Spondylitis, it ended up being one of the most difficult periods this disease would ever cause for me.  I had just shared with her that the doctors told us that my grandson was going to die, and we should consider him as an organ donor. Hunter was two months old at the time, and that was her response to me, “your life is such a drag.” I am sure Ankylosing Spondylitis has cost all of us dearly, when it comes to our friendships and relationships.

Then I thought I would write about how we should all be our own best friends, how we should be kinder to our selves and forgiving just like we would be to other people, but we know that already. We should be the friends to our self that we want from others.  I’ve learned the hard way just because people didn’t love me the way I needed them to; doesn’t mean they didn’t love me with everything they had.  I have struggled really hard with this blog, because I couldn’t find the right thing I felt I should share with you that you didn’t already know or had experienced yourself.

I have started this blog over more times than I care to admit. Wondering what should I share with you, what experience, wisdom, or understanding could I possibly write about? I have five word documents started at this very moment about friendship; none sharing the right story that I feel is somewhere deep inside my heart.

Yesterday, August 16, 2011 I decided I would search the Internet for inspiration, or at least a cute picture about friendship I could share with you.

Most of the images were of best friends, something I can’t write about. I was just about to give up when I found it. My inspiration.

“ A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” Arabian Proverb

That hit a chord deep within my soul. I had never seen the meaning of friendship spoken in such truth. Then it hit me, what I would write about. I have that. I have that kind of friendship in my life. In fact we all do. We have it in each other.

I am sure a lot of people would argue about the definition of best friend, I would have also, until I found this quote.

“My best friend(s) is the one(s) who brings out the best in me.” Henry Ford

This is each and every one of you, you allow me the freedom to be myself, and you all bring out the best in me. You have given me the strength and encouragement to look deep within my self and find the person that I was meant to be. I am a better person because I have known you. I am the best that I am able to be, because of you.

I came across another quote that was the deciding factor in what this blog would be about.

“ Do not save your loving speeches, for your friends till they are dead: Do not write them on their tombstones, speak them rather now instead.” Anna Cummins

So I decided I would write to you all about something you didn’t already know. I wanted to share my feelings about my best friend(s).

My best friend(s) are a small group of people who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I wanted to share how much each and every one of you means to me, and how important you have all become to me.

Each day I look forward to signing on and seeing what new things you all have posted. I want you to know how much I feel connected to each and every one of you, even over the Internet. It has been life changing for me to know that I have a close group of friends who GET IT. I don’t have to explain my bad day; I simply have to say I am having one. No explanations needed, just acceptance and understanding. I know that in my heart I can count on any of them to be there for me.

“ It is not so much our friend’s help that helps up as the confident knowledge that they will help us’” Epicurus

I know in my heart that when I am struggling there is someone there to offer me encouragement. I know that when I am heart broken there is someone there to offer me compassion. I know when I am unable to find the words to express myself; they are able to hear me. I can’t begin to tell you how much everyone has helped me during this part of my journey. There are times for me, that the only friend I feel I have in the world is you. I don’t have to hide behind a wall; if I do it’s a wall of glass.

You all see inside my soul because you see your self there as well.

I know that when my world becomes dark, that I am never alone, because of you.

I wrote this quote a long time ago.

The eyes are the windows to the soul; if they look they would see.

Only the broken and shattered pieces that are left of  me.

Each of you has had some part of helping me glue myself back together. I may not be perfect but I am whole.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller

I know that from this day forward I will never again walk in darkness alone.

I can’t express to you what that means to me, but I don’t have to because you understand.

Ankylosing Spondylitis hasn’t changed the person I am, only my purpose.

I may not make a significant change in this world, but you have made a significant change in mine.

I feel valued, understood, accepted and loved.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.

What is a friend? I will tell you. It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, and be genuine… just you. They understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them, you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meanness, and absurdities and, in opening them up to them, they are lost, dissolved, on the white ocean of their loyalty. They understand, as you do not have to be careful with them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They love you. They are like fire that purges to the bone. You can weep with them, laugh with them, and pray with them. Through it all – and underneath- they see, know and love you.

Thank God for friends, as they are one of life’s true blessings.

Friendship to me is……….

Finding that

Real person who

Is always by your side and

Eager to help you in your time of

Need, someone who

Doesn’t want anything from you except a

Sincere, loving, giving and

Honest friendship; the kind that you carry

Inside your heart even when they are no longer a

Part of your life.  By Cookie

“ No man is useless while he has a friend.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and the depth of my soul.

Dedicated to my Ankylosing Spondylitis Family.


13 Responses to “Did You Know By Cookie”

  1. In tears again, I should know better and not sit down too read your blog with out a box of tissues by my side xxx What you have said is so true, I agree with you – in all you have said **hugs**

    • Thank you so much Jackie. I try to just let the words in my heart flow to my fingers. You, and the rest of my AS family are such blessings to me! Never forget that. Hugs

  2. Cynthia Louise wrote: “What a great write Cookie!!.. thank you for sharing.. you have spoken for many.. Bless you hun. :)”
    Thank you so much, Cynthia!

  3. Spondylitis Association of America Beautifully written, Cookie!

    Thank you SAA!

  4. Darci Siren Balius Thanks Cookie! Great blog.

    Thank you so much Darci!

  5. Erin McDermott wrote: “It’s easy to relate to so much of what you wrote. Very beautiful & touching.. Thank you for sharing :o)”

    Thank you so much Erin!

  6. Rosemary Huff wrote: “Beautifully written, hearfelt writing, Cookie- you certainly have been through so much, I hope you know you have so many friends here that love you!”

    Thank you so much Rosemary, I’m blessed because of you all.

  7. hurtingbuthopeful Says:

    I love you Cookie Monster, and you will be my bff always. You think you dont, but I know you have an amazing talent of writing from the heart and teaching others right from wrong. So thanks for that…and for gifting me the greatest gift ever, your love and friendship. Love, Kelly

  8. Erin This is a wonderful group & I love reading your blogs. Knowing there are others out there you can relate with can be so comforting, especially on those really bad days!

    Cookie why thank you i am so honored that made my day well night actually!

    Erin Yes, I do! I’m pretty new to the group & loved seeing that you posted your blogs. You are a great writer & I truly enjoy reading them :o)

    Cookie ms Erin i am in tears that you would feel that way thank you so much, i struggle finding my words and i appreciat that , you honestly touched me so saying that

    Erin ‎:o) Well, in turn, your blogs are very meaningful to me. Being a newbie to the AS world can be scary & lonley, as I’m sure you know. Your writings share that I’m not alone in this fight, make me laugh (when appropriate of course) & see another perspective too. All very helpful to each of us :o) Keep doin what you’re doin!.. please, lol!

  9. Sharon : it came from a beautifull person who has been on a very long journey thank you for allowing me to share your words and some how know we are on the same page xxx
    Cookie: You know I am working on our next topic blog. Self esteem and couldnt find the self esteem to write it lol Thank you for the gift of believing in what I do

  10. Diane Scribe Niiganii Says:

    Thank you for sharing this with me Cookie. My husband keeps suggesting I start a blog and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. Thanks for introducing me to what a blog is..lol. You are an amazing writer. I love your voice, it is strong and passionate. I have been feeling so much better about life and about myself since I have met more people with AS on fb. I have a 1 friend diagnosed recently with AS and my hubbies relatives, a whole family almost, have it too but we don’t talk about it much with them. You really opened up the world of AS on fb for me and I really appreciate it so much. I have learned a lot about the physical side of AS but there is so much more to it than that.
    You are just awesome!

    • I am tears, after reading this, you are too kind. You are most welcome I was hoping you would like it or at least relate to it. Kelly introduced me to blogging back in May so I am still new to it. Thank you for the wonderful compliments, I am still amazed people even read my stuff and shocked when they like it! I don’t know anyone who has AS. so the only people I can relate to are on our site, but they have become my family and my safe haven. A place of belonging, acceptance and love. You are awesome too and so glad I found you or did you find me/? 🙂

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