• Hey, Soul Sisters

    by Christy Sillman

    “True friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies” – Aristotle.

    When Lauren and I met, we were hesitant of each other. I mean, who really wants their parents to pick out their friends? They forced us to walk to school together. But I guess when you’re soul sisters, the universe will find a way to bring you together.

    Lauren and I have a friendship that I could probably write an entire book about, but I’lll attempt to sum up our friendship with my favorite story of us.

    One summer, while on a hike with the church camp we attended every summer, the altitude started to limit my ability to conceal my heart condition. I was very short of breath, and was quickly becoming that annoying “special” person who held the entire group up.

    I’ve always hated when my heart condition makes me feel different from my peers. Before the tears fell off my cheeks, Lauren was hoisting me on to her back. I laughed at her and said, “You can’t carry me up a mountain!” She yelled back “watch me!”

    Lauren climbed the entire hike with my arms wrapped around my neck. She was my savior that day, and has been for the past 25 years. She is Noah’s godmother, and my first soul sister.

    Sarah and I were also “set up,” not by our parents but by our geometry teacher. I can’t even remember why, but our teacher felt we should sit together and work on all projects for the entire course throughout our junior year of high school. No other students were paired together this way.

    Sarah and I had a rocky friendship in the beginning. Lots of drama, but what else would you expect from a bunch of high school girls? Sarah was a young woman with a lot of pain, and she was just beginning to work through the damage when we met. A lot of people destroy themselves before they build themselves back up, and I was there for a lot of her self-destruction.

    Lauren and Sarah became friends as well (of course I introduced them), and the three of us were a bunch of hooligans who ruled the summer of 1997 in Davis, California. After high school, Lauren went off to college, Sarah fell for the wrong boy, and I recovered from open heart surgery.

    With every friendship, there are ebbs and flows. The mark of a true friendship is that despite the ebbs you can automatically start where you last left off. It still amazes me how well the three of us accomplish this stability.

    My relationship with Sarah blossomed after I learned to forgive some of her misguided actions, and she learned to give her amazing loyalty to the right people. Sarah held me as I sobbed the night my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, and held my husband Steve when I was rushed to the operating room to deliver our son Noah.

    Over the past 15 years Lauren, Sarah and I have grown into beautifully complicated women, who despite distance, life situations or personal struggles, always manage to find each other in our darkest hours.

    Both women stood beside me the day of my wedding and took night shifts the first week after Noah was born. Both, without hesitation, offered to be our gestational surrogate the day we found out I shouldn’t get pregnant again.

    When Sarah was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance recently, it only took me two minutes before I jumped in the car to be with her. She told me I could go home to take care of my family, but I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. She is my family.

    Lauren has faced some major emotional obstacles in the past few years and it physically pains me to see her hurt so much. What I wouldn’t give to take it all away.

    I would do ANYTHING for these women. I treasure every moment I get with them. They are part of who I am — the threads in my soul quilt.

    Women need girlfriends. The relationship between girlfriends is something sacred. One must treat the relationship with the up most respect. Two women can either become an unstoppable force of unity or a windstorm of anger and resentment. Women can be nasty to each other, and that fact saddens me.

    I’m very fortunate to have multiple close girlfriends, even beyond Lauren and Sarah, who have held me up and tended to my wounds — both physically and emotionally. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by many beautiful goddesses.

    Who knew one person could have so many soul mates?

      • Amy

      • May 22, 2011 at 7:53 am
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      Christy this is beautiful! So well said, and you continue to inspire me with your columns every week.

      • Linda Gould

      • May 22, 2011 at 8:23 am
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      Now I see why there is a strong bond between you guys. I am so happy to have a peek into this incredible friendship.

    • Christy, I too had a soul sister/best friend for 42 years. She died at 49 leaving a 6 and 8 year old. From diagnosis to death was just 5 months. I spend literally every day with her for those 5 months. She fought so hard and I wrote to everyone daily to share her progress. She really looked like she was going to win but in the end her body was too weak. I miss her everyday and it has been 13 years. Her daughter just called me from NYC to tell me she and her first real boyfriend are coming to LA (her home) and wants me to meet him and have brunch. I promised their Mom (Kathleen) that along with her husband I would be her memory. I actually knew her longer than her husband. It is amazing how her kids remind me of her even though they knew her only a short time and have very little memories. But I tell stories and stories we had. We once had to tell her husband who was jealous of our friendship that many boyfriends and even my ex-husband had come and gone and we stayed together. So he better get on our train or he would be run over by it. We laughed and cried until she had no more laughter or tears. I miss my soul sister so I can totally understand your story today. Some people live their whole lives without a soul sister or best friend and for that I am sad for them. It is the best relationship on earth-women to women sharing and loving their sister friends.

        • Christy

        • May 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm
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        Wow, that breaks my heart that you lost your soul sister at such a young age!! My mom lost hers a few years back too. I imagine it would feel like loosing an arm or something. It really is the best love there is, and it is so true, despite all the men who come and go, your soul sisters will always be there.

        That’s a huge reason why I love “sex in the city” because of the relationship between the 4 women, and how they pull each other through thick and thin.

        I’m so glad Kathleen had you to lean on in those final months, and even more happy that she had you to keep her memory alive for her children. She lives on through you, and sounds like you live your life for her.

    • Thanks Christy. She was just 49. So sad. It was lung cancer (non smoking) and seems to be environmental. But will never know. I miss her so much.

    • I married my soul sister. Without her I would not have a soul. She is away on vacation with her soul sister (posted a pic on facebook) When they are together-they are always wispering and giggling. sometimes I wonder what they are talking about-but then I come to my senses and just smile because my wife is so happy. If she is happy-I am elated. I am a lucky man.

      • Tracy

      • May 24, 2011 at 11:51 am
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      A beautiful story that I can relate to as well. My own “soul sisters” are who helped me make it through a painful childhood and to though we don’t see each other often, to this day whenever we have the opportunity to get together our relationship feels just as strong as it was those many years ago.

    • I too am lucky to have found soul sisters- I’ve loved hearing about yours!

      • Traci

      • September 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm
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      That was beautiful Christy!!!

      • Abbie

      • September 6, 2011 at 8:49 am
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      Beautifully put. It makes me miss my soul sister, gone ten years now, more than I could have imagined. You are so lucky to have them.

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