Portrait of a Friend

6 thoughts on “Portrait of a Friend”

  1. Your courage is inspiring, Alison. You embody a silent strength. Be brave. Write on. And thank you for gifting our Hamline class and the world with your strength and the truth. Especially the truth.

    Warm regards,



  2. “Your own earliest memories include staring at the cracks on the ceiling above your crib…” I love the feeling/image that conveys. I personally have no patience for naps and remember them only as something to be endured.

    This is all so beautiful and moving and heartbreaking. I have too many feelings about it right now to know what to say, except that now I love your friend, too. Thank you for writing so deeply and honestly about things and people that are close to your heart.


  3. my best friend can do that parlor trick too, which never ceases to amaze me. and anywhere–at other people´s houses, on the grass, in a living room full of riotous children, wherever. wake me up in 20 minutes, he says, and switches himself off like a light.

    i can´t tell you how many nights i have lain awake doing that same meditation, but i always thought it was breathe in goodbye and breathe out thank you. seems like it shouldn´t make that much of a difference, but i just tried it and it seemed like i was breathing backwards! oh well, between the two of us we have both in and out covered, so we should be good.


  4. I just visited a very close, longtime friend this weekend and felt so sad driving away from her. It was nice to read this post in the midst of my loneliness.

    And I, too, am mistress of the 20 minute snoozle.


  5. Alison, I have loved all of your Portraits of a Friend posts but I think this is my favorite yet. It made me start crying at several different junctures, which is always a sign I really love something.

    I love your writing style so much, and your flow and how you tell stories. They are so revealing, human, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us about your wonderful friend and this beautiful relationship the two of you have.

    My best friend (whom I also met my first year of college) just had her first child and I am overjoyed and spent an hour talking to her while he was squeaking/squealing away in the background last night. So, reading this today, just felt so right and I kept thinking as I read along “I know that feeling!” Her and I have been friends for 12 years, and she has hid things from me when I wish I had been there for her, and she has been with me through my darkest, hardest times. We have lived far apart for many years, but when we see each other, it is always picking up where we left off. Those friends are the best and she is one of those people I deeply need.


  6. Thank you, all of you, for these beautiful comments. They make me appreciate my friend all the more. Before I wrote this post I think I just assumed that everyone has a friend like this, but the number of notes I’ve gotten about it have made me realize how lucky I am.

    Nicole, what you say about always just “picking up where you left off” – that is one of the things I treasure most in the world. When you don’t have to explain yourself, apologize for the lack of communication. . . when it’s all just *there* already.



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