In life we wander along collecting things. We collect mementos and treasures. We collect our childhood memories and our children’s keepsakes. If we are really fortunate we collect friends. As we go through our journey in life, the more places we encounter those who become friends. The past few days I have been in the presence of some extraordinary women, women who have gathered together from all over the country to hold the hand and wipe the tears of an amazing person. This weekend I have been in a house draped in grief but wrapped in the love of friendship. There are women here who have been her friend for 40 years and some just for a few. Some of us fell out of contact and rekindled our friendships recently as though no time had passed. Those of us new to each other bonded quickly. As I sat and watched the comings and goings of people in this woman’s life I was struck by the richness of her connections. Her collection of strong, loving, devoted friends is a testament to depth of her spirit. I am proud to be a part of this collection of friends.