I have been lucky enough to have people come into my life in a support role, and then become very special friends.
Heather was a carer who came to me from an agency some years ago when I was temporarily bed-ridden. She came to cook me lunch, do my washing, tidy up the house, do shopping etc, and she would also help with baths, and wash and set my hair for me. At my request I had asked for the agency to send somebody very quiet, as I had had an uncomfortable experience with a loud, managing sort of person who insisted she was treating me as she would treat her own mother, while arguing with me about everything I asked her to do.
So Heather slipped into my life in the most unobtrusive and soothing manner, and it wasn’t until I began to get better, get up, and have the energy to get to know her, that I discovered what a fun-loving sort of person she was. She had a great sense of humour and we began to have some very therapeutic laughs together. Later she would take me shopping and we would sometimes behave like schoolgirls, fooling around and giggling. I love her to this day, and occasionally we manage to meet up again, which gives me great pleasure.
Sarah-Jane (or S-J as she calls herself) is the young woman who does cleaning for me, but she is so much more. She came to me in 2001 when she was still at school, and she is now a young mother of 22, working her guts out in a variety of jobs, including cleaning, shop work and home caring. She is also attending university part-time, looking after a baby daughter, and generally trying to make good - "because" she says "I was a right little toerag when I was at school!" She is a tough and courageous young woman and I salute her.
She is like a grown-up granddaughter to me, and tells me that now she has a daughter I have become a great grandmother! We have some very intimate conversations as she doesn’t mind what she asks me, and as I am a "let-it-all-hang-out" kind of person myself, I don’t mind telling her. She is a joy, and my buddy in a way which, having had neither sister nor daughter, I feel a great thankfulness for. We hug a lot, and I believe we draw comfort and companionship from each other. She calls me ‘Babe’, and I delight in her.
There are of course other special people in my life, but these two, one from the past and one in my life now, make a good starting point.