Putting the beauty of lifelong friendships into words | Friendship

We were heartened to read of Rhaina Cohen’s new book on close platonic friendships, The Other Significant Others (‘She’s my sacred other’: is friendship, not romance, the key to a happy and fulfilled life?, 13 March), as it deals with many of the issues that we raised in our article published in the Guardian (First person, 22 November 2008), which explored our own strong and committed friendship. We have continued to share our home and lives, and have become even closer friends as we grow older (we are now in our 70s) and in greater need of each other’s support and care.

The question of how we name our relationship still eludes us, and we know of few others in a similar position, so can only applaud Cohen’s determination to show the strength of commitment in the many, but still largely invisible, relationships like ours.
Katherine Holden and Helen Kendall

How this article resounded with me. I’m in the midst of huge grief over the loss of a friend of 40 years. We spoke or met every day. She nominated me “her person” at her death; I was with her throughout. My husband has post-traumatic stress disorder, which means he is emotionally absent most of the time. When my friend died, my daughter said: “Mum, she was like your life partner.” Saying a “friend” has died to explain my grief seems so inadequate. We need a new word.
Name and address supplied

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