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This morning I was thinking of all the friends who have been in my life.  Some of my friends are from years ago and others have been added in the last few years, and even more recently in the last few months.  The above picture is Courtney with her best friend Gracie.  Sure, they look funny when they go walking together but they are the best of friends.  Gracie is a black and white boxer and Courtney is the weinerdog.  They spent the last 9 months apart and recently were reunited.  It was as if no time had gone by, they sat by each other on the couch, but most of the time Gracie was having some part of her body on or near Courtney.  As I watched the two of them I was reminded of the friendships I have had with several women over the years.  One in particular stands out as I am writing this.  I am fortunate in the fact that I have several women in my life who are ranking right up there with best friend.  The friend I want to write about today has probably been through most of my most defining moments in my life.  I probably met her for when I was around 16.  We became friends though about 10 years later.  Her friendship to me has always been a constant in my life.  We can go months without communication and yet if I call her or she calls me there is an instant connection.  This friend of mine holds my secrets close to her chest, I have probably never laughed so hard with another or cried as hard with another as I have done with her.   She has been by my side when I was raped, suffered from cancer, went through a horrible divorce and many other life changes.  I have always felt as though she was a pillar of strength to me.  She has seen me at my worse and cheered for me when I succeeded in something.  Even though I know she has not always approved of some of my decisions in life, she has always stood by my side.  I know that I can be at my lowest of lows and she will be there to encourage me and love me through to the end.  When I have triumphed over something that has been a huge obstacle in my life she has been my biggest fan.  I am forever grateful for her and as I celebrate her birthday tomorrow I want to let her know that no one could ever ask for a better friend, than the friend she has been to me.  I would give a kidney to this woman, as I am sure she would do the same for me.  So, friend of mine…thank you for all the love, tears and giggles throughout all these years.  You will always and forever be my standard of what a best friend is all about.  Happy Birthday to you, I love you!!

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