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The word I wish I had on this sad day


Please help me.

I need a word.

This is a word we don’t have in English, but one that we really need.

This is a word I need today on a sad day.

My friend’s mom has passed away.

This is a woman I’ve known more than 30 years.

This is a woman who has made me laugh and has made me feel loved.

This is a woman who has suffered with illness far too long.

She is no longer suffering, but it’s a sad for those of us left behind.

And so, Dear Reader, perhaps you know the word I need and that so many of us need.

A word for “parent of your dear friend.”

It’s not “Mom” or “Aunt,” and it really can’t just be “parent of my friend.”

I need a word that does justice to this special relationship.

Have you had someone like this in your life, Dear Reader?

Your friend’s parent with whom you’ve formed your own connection.

Your friend’s parent who was a safe haven when you were growing up in a home that was less than stable.

Your friend’s parent who could listen when perhaps your own couldn’t.

Your friend’s parent who gave you widsom, a different perspective and even love.

Your friend’s parent who maybe changed your life?

And of course, the reverse appreciation is true, as well.

After all, one person’s annoying, crazy mother can be another’s delight.

I’ve had many moms of friends who have made a difference in my life.

Stella is the mother of my friend, Cater, who I met as we toiled in local news in Phoenix.

Stella’s as Southern as sweet tea and moonshine.

Who else could take my nickname, Dak, push it out through her gravelly smoker’s voice and turn it into four syllables?

“Daa-aaa-aaa-k,” she’d say as she’d beckon me over to get squished in a giant bear hug.

There is also Genie, the mother of my college roommate, Heidi.

Genie didn’t hesitate to ask tough questions — whether it be about politics, questionable dating choices or my career.

These are not the first parents of friends I will lose.

We’ve been losing people since high school.

And, as my friends and I plow through our 50s, it’s simply inevitable that pace will pick up.

There are lots of our parents we will have to say “goodbye” to that we appreciate and love for their specialness.

So you see, I’m looking for a word.

I so desperately want that word.

The one that means, “Thank you for simply being you. For making room for me in your heart. For caring so much about the new job, the guy who broke my heart, the blessing of my marriage.

Thank you for our special connection.

For your time.

For your support.

For your love.

I don’t have the word to describe what you were to me, but my, oh my I am so lucky, so thankful, so blessed to have had you.


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