I, like many people, have not lived where I was born for most of my adult life. My mum and her sister live less than half a mile from the house where they entered the world, their grandparents and parents are buried in the town's cemetery; this is not how my generation have lived. I am not unusual, in fact I don't have one close friend who lives where she was born. We have not had the luxury of extended families to help, we have all had to create that network from scratch. It is not easy but once achieved this network of women is as much, indeed more, than any family could ever be. Maia Angelou has a name for such women, she calls them her 'sister friends'. I am lucky enough to have several such women in my life and I love them dearly. I can be myself with them and know they never judge, or are shocked, but always loyal and supporting. They will hug me when I haven't showered for days, make me a cup of tea in my own kitchen and not mind if they have to pick up a pile of washing before they can sit down, or text me from America, just to make sure I am fine. Nobody makes me laugh more that one such friend, nobody makes me feel more cherished than another. I have cried, had drunken nights, been outrageous and given love and support to them all, it is no chore, it is as easy as breathing. I never forget , at the time of my very difficult separation, after a incomprehensible and tearful phone call the arrival, within minutes, of a dear friend, bottle of whisky in hand...just there at my time of need. With this love comes anguish, fear when illness lurks, worries at times of marital difficulties, funerals of parents to attend, but also celebrations and joys. A test of a true friend, I was once told, it is the 3am breakdown. Who could you call that would come and rescue you, and would laugh with you and make it all ok? I know, do you? We have partners, spouses, and family, children and acquaintances, but Sister Friends are the rocks we are tied to that stop us being washed away with the tide. I am, at the moment going through a sad and difficult time and would like to say a heartfelt 'thank you' to my special 'sister friends'. I couldn't live without you, my life would be all the poorer for the loss of you. I am taking from the friendship cup now but promise I will give back when I am able. You know who you are, a thank you can never be enough.
-I do not believe that the accident of birth makes people sisters and brothers. It makes them siblings. Gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood are conditions people have to work at. It's a serious matter. You compromise, you give, you take, you stand firm, and you're relentless...And it is an investment. Sisterhood means if you happen to be in Burma and I happen to be in San Diego and I'm married to someone who is very jealous and you're married to somebody who is very possessive, if you call me in the middle of the night, I have to come.”