1. Verklan, M. Terese PhD, CCNS, RNC

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When was the last time you spoke to an old friend? Do you remember the best friend you had from grade school? There were 4 of us-Louise, Erica, Debbie, and me-and we did everything together. Then we ended up going to different high schools because of a new zoning law. Bummer. The bond weakened a bit, although it is still there. But I will admit I haven't talked to them in over 10 years.


How about college friends? Mine are scattered around the world now, but many of us keep in contact, often by phone, but especially by e-mail. I loved seeing pictures and reading about the latest adventures as I opened up Christmas cards a few months ago. I promised myself especially to call Carol and Linda Y and was superexcited to read that Linda moved from the East Coast to just a couple of hundred miles from me-easily drivable!! I couldn't wait to talk to her and make plans to visit her in her new house. I haven't called either of them yet. I've just been too busy with work, family, and social commitments-you know the story.


A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a task force regarding advanced practice nurses and the certification process (in case you didn't know, I am a big believer of certification!!). When I read the list of nurses invited from across the country, one name stood out-Linda. O!! I was so excited that I was going to see her that I e-mailed her right away. And so we started talking and planning for meeting again just like we spoke to each other yesterday. How wonderful it was to get caught up on all the latest going on in her life, as well as to talk about past memories. We hugged as soon as we saw each other and never stopped talking and laughing.


While standing in the meeting room chatting with other members of the task force, many who were colleagues I had served with on professional committees across the years, I saw a woman enter who made instant eye contact with me. She walked across the room, her eyes never leaving mine, and mouthed the words "I know you!!" I was puzzled, but as soon as she spoke, I KNEW that voice. Cindy was one of the clinical nurse specialists I worked with in my very first CNS position!! I couldn't believe it!!!! Again, it was like yesterday since we spoke and we have promised to stay connected. I sure hope we will.


Children's Hospital at the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg, the first neonatal intensive care unit I worked in, is celebrating its 100th birthday, and I have been invited to come home to participate in the festivities as well as speak at the conference. Not having been to Winnipeg in many years, I called an old friend who used to be one of my best friends through and after college-we did everything together, including quitting smoking!! I hadn't talked to him in almost 20 years and was so disappointed to get his answering machine. I left my phone number and e-mail address, and every time the phone rang, I hoped it was Don. Several days later, I opened an e-mail from him titled "Like hearing the voice of a ghost." Needless to say, we have been talking up a storm and we will be glued together seeing the old haunts and sharing war stories when I go home. I can't wait to see him as well as my friends from the neonatal intensive care unit.


The point of all these little stories is how surprised I am to find that I miss my old friends. All the memories, experiences, happy and sad times that we went through growing up, skipping class, canoeing down the lake, snowmobiling, and staying up all night partying and laughing come flooding back. I have great friends who play a part in my everyday life that I am sure wouldn't want to part with, but there is something special about the ones who shared the "growing pains." No matter how long it's been, we can pick up right where we left off. The following is a poem the author wrote for one of her best friends that I really think says it all.




I gaze into twin pools of warmth


Bright and sparkling


I see something indescribable


Something I can't quite put my finger on.


Twin pool, blazing and brilliant


Making all your sweetness


And all your compassion


Crystal clear.


Twin pools shimmering and glimmering


Showing how you're


Sweet, sensitive, caring and kind


Funny athletic cunning and friendly.


Twin pools, so animated and intense


Help me to share


Your love of life,


Your life of love.


I gaze into twin pools of warmth and


I see the sweetest person I've ever met or ever will meet


I recognize a sincere and honest guy who can never be replaced


I realize you are so special because


When I look into your eyes


I witness a miracle, I find a friend.


Take 5 minutes and phone someone close you haven't talked to in a while. It will be a terrific gift to yourself.


M. Terese Verklan, PhD, CCNS, RNC


Associate Professor and Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston




1. Reece. Friendship poems. Published 1999. Accessed March 25, 2009. [Context Link]