In June 2013 Fran travelled with her parents from New York to Hamburg via Southampton on board the RMS Queen Mary 2. The trip gave us the chance to meet face-to-face for the first time after two years as friends. I drove down to Southampton the night before, and met them when they came ashore next morning.
Excerpted from our book High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder.
I set my clothes out for the morning, checked that my camera and satnav were charged, and tried to sleep. We had our day planned but I was still anxious. What if I was not allowed into the terminal to meet them from the ship? What if Fran’s parents wanted to go to Stonehenge after all? What if we found ourselves awkward with each other?
Fortunately, a close friend was online. She chatted with me for almost two hours. She reminded me the day would be a success, no matter what we did or what happened, because I would spend it in the company of my best friend. It was a powerful lesson in compassion and trust, and I am immensely grateful for her support.
I woke several times through the night. Each time, I checked the ship’s position and webcam as she approached Southampton. She berthed on time, around half past six in the morning.
I left the hotel shortly afterwards, and parked at the cruise terminal well ahead of schedule.
All my frustrations and uncertainty melted away once I was there.
I took photographs of the RMS Queen Mary 2, and waited in the terminal building for Fran and her parents to come ashore.
And then, all in a moment, they were there. Fran was there. Not three thousand miles away on webcam, but standing in front of me. We hugged across the barrier. My excitement must have been obvious, because Fran’s first words to me were “You’re shaking!”
High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder is available at: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.es | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Barnes & Noble