Music for the Ladies We Love & Who Love Us Back

In honour of besties, please enjoy this compilation that celebrates the ultimate in female friendships. 

These are songs for the girls who've got our backs, the keepers of secrets, the dispensers of advice, the sounding boards.

Those friends who are also our cheerleaders and number one fans who inspire us to try and not worry about failure. "What's the worst that can happen? They say no? Remember a no is just a starting point; the main point is to start." and so we try and are better for it because everything is a lesson and life is short and you don't want to live with regret. They make us LIVE out loud and in full throttle. We can be messy and loud with them and because our bond comes from love and mutual support, we know she'll love us in the morning. This is what friendship is about.

A true friend is an angel who wants the best for us and doesn't begrudge us our luck or our looks. They will only say negative comments if you ask specifically for them for constructive reason like  self-improvement. She'll challenge and inspire you to be your best and together you grow and mature and your relationship evolves but it's solid because not only do you love each other, you also really like each other. You like talking and getting her opinion and you feel good when she demands yours because it's important to her. 

A friend's support can be invaluable when we're down. If you've just been fired or broken up with you can give her a call and if she's a true friend,  she'll take you out and you'll have such a good time - dancing, meeting new people and feeling so good that you forget to be sad. And the next day when you're hungover and lower than D day, she'll come by with Ben & Jerry's and some therapeutic movies like Beaches or Sleepless in Seattle and listen to you ramble and rub your back. In the end you'll both agree you were too good for them and it's actually a good thing and they did you a favour. Good riddance and hallelujah. 

As I write this post I just got the saddest message on my phone that I have ever received.

It was my best friend Donna*.

She told me she is dying. This is it. She's on her death bed. 

She's been battling breast cancer for the past 7 years. She had a mastectomy, reconstruction and surgery to remove staples the first doctor had erroneously put inside her, as she is allergic to metal and was itching from the inside. About 4 years ago she was advised the cancer had spread to her ovaries. No surgeries were performed and she went on medication that would extend her life.

It seems the drug has stopped working and the cancer is winning.

She is in Halifax.

I am in Toronto.

She moved out there just this past fall with the man of her dreams. He is mature and kind  and has been a lovely friend to her and for this I am extremely grateful. In a recent email, before her fatal prognosis, she said Chris* "is my saviour and the most wonderful, caring, intelligent human being of a man a woman could ever ask for."  

She is 54. Unmarried. No children. Throughout our friendship she was single and lived in the same apartment off Yonge Street in North York. She had a few serious relationships around about the time I was having my babies but none lasted very long and we've never been on a double date with our men. Back then we usually hung out a her apartment, which was a reprieve to me from the constant demands of young children; a calming refuge where I could relax, sip some beer, and catch up with my friend and just be me, Alison, and not somebody's mother for a minute. 

If we didn't chill together at her place we would meet downtown as it was a central point between our two homes.  We would enjoy whatever we desired in this metropolis of fine dining, great music and superb theatre. Donna loved nothing more than a good meal in a nice restaurant so we would usually start there, then we would meander to some joint playing live music (which I loved) and have a laugh for a bit before saying farewell and back to our completely different existences. One of the things I love best about my friend Donna is that she was always game to try something new. She wasn't afraid to venture downtown alone on the subway and watch "Pomme is French for Apple' with me during the Fringe Festival. I was so glad we went because she was sick back then but that hour of comedy was the absolute best medicine. We laughed and we laughed hard for the entire performance. I remember we both peed our pants a tiny bit and then we laughed harder and peed them some more. 

We met when I was in my early twenties and one fact that I've always loved about her is that she is 5 years older.  I had just gotten married and was working for a corporate travel agency near the airport in Toronto.  My company was expanding and they needed to hire another agent and since I was the only one there and my boss was in Milwaukee, they let me interview and select my coworker. Donna came in wearing a power red skirt suit which was overshadowed by her long brown hair that was seemed too big for her tiny body. She is petite, barely 5 feet and always wearing heels to gain height, and delicate of bone structure. She was pleasant in the interview and I liked her so I hired her. It was an intimate and unusual office; we worked inside the large multi-national corporation but we're not paid by them, we just made their travel arrangements. We were outsiders on the inside and now I had a team mate. We got along famously and although she is my complete opposite in many ways we grew to be each others best friends. Our working relationship ended soon after it had begun when I started having children and the company we worked for was sold and our agency displaced but our connection and appreciation of each other stayed strong over the past 25 years. 

Now my best friend is dying and she is coming home this weekend to say goodbye. I will have to summon the strength to be brave and while I miss Donna very much, having not seen her for the past 4 months, this is a reunion I am fearing. 

I urge you all not to wait until such a sad situation happens to you or your best friend...tell her now how much she means to you and let her know how grateful you are for her friendship and how much you love her.  Never, ever take your best friend for granted. Honour her today.

* Names have been changed to protect their privacy