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There's a special place in heaven for friends, for those who love you and you love them back, for no other reason than you love each other (even at your most exasperating).

There's no obligation. You're not related by blood or marriage; you may not have the small town or neighborhood ties of having grown up together; you may have had vastly different life experience.

But when you meet and get to know each other, it's as though you are family. Indeed, friends are in some ways closer than family since they are chosen, not allocated by fortune or biology.

Family who are friends also are a double bonus; family who are estranged or passed away are a double sadness.

My friends and I had a Friday night casual sort of party, get-together, whatever you call it. We're the one group of people each of us feels safe with, can share with, can just sit in silence if that's what feels right.

I shared with them that as the current situation stands, there will be no more animal friends in my house. BN's cat came over and jumped in my lap, as if to say, "Well, then, pet ME." Okay, I can adopt OPP (other people's pets). Maybe I should take up pet-sitting, except that would cut into LF's little business and I wouldn't do that for the world (she lives on a shoestring).

They understood how sad I felt, and that helped. Certainly it's not in the same bracket as GR's situation--her mother is in hospice--but each of us has our own joys and sorrows, sorrows and joys.

You, my friends, are my joy. I am thankful for your frienship.

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