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The Boston Globe



The friend who hung on

A wiser woman than I taught me the value of staying in touch, despite life’s twists.

SOMETIMES IT’S EASIER TO LET GO of friendships than to hang on. Thank goodness not everyone takes the easy way out. My friend Renee is a “hanger-on-er.” Not only does she have the endearing ability to cultivate friendships wherever she goes, she also hangs onto her friends for life. I, on the other hand, am pretty practiced at letting go.

Two decades ago, Renee and I were neighbors in a Boston suburb where backyards blend together and front doors are only for show. We enjoyed the easy camaraderie that arises from proximity — we showed up on each other’s doorsteps looking for butter or Band-Aids or lawn-mower gas; after a time, we joined up for dog walks, a glass of wine, neighborhood news. We shared, in small increments, the stories and details of our lives. I got to know, vicariously, her extended family, and she got to know mine. We came to be part of the fabric of each other’s lives, the way those who share small intimacies do. Did I appreciate how valuable this effortless friendship was? Of course not.

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