I’d always felt a bit jealous of people with best friends. Perhaps it’s more the stuff of movies than real life, but that close friendship, where you laugh and cry together, know everything about each other, take bike rides past the cute guy’s house with one of you sitting on the handlebars – okay that’s definitely movie friendship – but still, it looked nice.
I’d always had a close group of friends but, except for my husband, never an adult best friend relationship.
Then Jana came along. Jana was a tiny, beautiful woman with a huge personality. She spun around in her seat at church and introduced herself with a huge smile and the kind of focused attention that made you feel like the only person in the room.
Watch: Best Friends Translated. Post continues below.
She held my arm as she talked, shared her life story, and wanted to hear mine. Our babies played on the floor next to us, apparently enjoy each other’s company too. Jana was bubbly and kind-hearted. She had a charisma that drew you in. We were instant friends. In fact, we were instant best friends according to Jana.
"You’re my new sister," she announced. "I think we should be best friends."
Jana made my weeks lighter. We hung out as much as we could: taking our bubs out in their prams for walks, going to town for coffee, sharing our lunch and our stories. As I got to know her, I learnt how difficult her story was. She’d had a string of traumatic life events, and, I'd soon find out, there was more to come.
I felt sorry for my friend. She had the worst luck. She’d been hit by a car crossing the road early in her pregnancy and had spent eight months in hospital.
Her childhood had also been difficult, and she struggled with the leftover effects of a past eating disorder. Having a hard time with her health issues, she started asking me to babysit for her.