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I know a boy I never met.

He was in his mother’s eyes the day she tentatively stepped into my home wearing Abercrombie sweat pants and Uggs with a Venti Starbucks in hand.  She was (and still is) an incredibly beautiful woman with shining eyes and ridiculously perfect hair and makeup.  I stifled my inner eyeroll since she’d at least bothered to show up.  This was the first time I’d hosted a Bible study in my home and didn’t even know several of the dozen ladies – including this one – who had signed up to attend.

We introduced ourselves and she told us about her husband and dogs.  She smiled and said positive things when she spoke which wasn’t often.

Later that night in an effort to befriend my new friends, I found her on facebook and sent a friend request.  Despite being quiet in person, she wasn’t a Nazi about online privacy so I read a “note” she’d written about her son.  Her deceased son.  Her deceased-killed-tragically-in-a-car-accident-only-child son.  And I cried.  All alone.  For this woman I hardly knew and the strength and courage I felt it must have taken for her to walk into a roomful of strangers with such a burden on her heart.

I saddled her burden along with all mine until such a time as the dam broke and the tears choked her story from her.  As Amy’s story tumbled out, an amazing thing happened.  A bond was forged.  A strong one. 

I still keep in touch with several of those dozen ladies via phone calls every few months or an occasional facebook post, but there are five of us whose souls joined that night.   As they say about friendship: “Shared joy is multiplied.  Shared grief, divided.”  We’ve rejoiced, laughed and cried together through the years.  We’ve fallen in love and had hearts broken.  We’ve had grandchildren and adopted babies.  We’ve lost loved ones and been sick.  We’ve been broke and gotten new jobs.  I love these five girls all each and every one.  Deeply and dearly.  And I know that each of them love me unconditionally too.  All because Amy shared her heart one night.

But if she had the chance to have her Jeffrey back for one hug, one kiss, one smile…I know she’d trade us all in for that.  And I don’t blame her a bit.