I am naturally an introvert. That doesn’t mean I am quiet and shy – I’m definitely not. It means that I am happy in my own company, I don’t need a massive social circle and I am usually much happier staying in than going out. I don’t really enjoy chit chat or meeting new people.
I don’t have a huge social circle of women I am close to. I have a small group I can count on. My two best friends are people I have known half my life. We don’t live close anymore but we are in contact every day. They are both Tadhg and Elva’s Godparents. They are funny, kind, intelligent, strong women who I considered the best role models I could ask for for my children.
I wish I never had to learn how good a friends they could be. After my parents and sister, they were the first people I called to tell about Elva. They’ve been there for me every day since and I am so grateful.
People often say they are there if you need them. They also say call anytime. But the reality is that you’re not going to randomly impose yourself on the well meaning acquaintance at 4am when you can’t sleep. But when these guys say call anytime, I felt like I could – and I did.
I remember the phone calls in the early hours when I felt so completely alone. I couldn’t disturb Kieran from the tiny bit of sleep he was managing to get. These guys answered and talked to me for hours sometimes. They had work the next day but still answered. They answered and listened to me talking and crying.
Everyone wants to be there for you, but it is hard. We’ve struggled to see a lot of people – even family. I am not used to showing emotion around people and emotion is inevitable when seeing people at the moment – especially if it is the first time I have seen them.
What this has shown me is I have more close friends than I think. Friends I have met through work have been there for me, protecting me. Friends Kieran and I share have been there for both of us. There’s probably a dozen people I have really relied on through this. People I wasn’t hesitant to call (maybe not all at 4 am), people who shared memories of Elva, people who walked with us when we left the house so we didn’t feel so completely alone. These people have shown me what true friendship is. They haven’t publicised their ‘good deeds’ because that’s not why they’ve been there. They are just there because they care and I couldn’t be more grateful to them all.
There are so many quotes out there about when the times are tough you find out who your true friends are and they couldn’t be more true.