WATCH: Female friendship is spectacular

Amy Silverstein, author of "My Glory Was I Had Such Friends," reflects on how close companions saved her life

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published July 22, 2017 6:00PM (EDT)

A devastating illness reshapes not just the contours of your body, but the relationships in your life.

When author Amy Silverstein was facing a life-threatening heart condition and waiting for a potentially risky transplant, nine of her closest female friends stepped up with courage, generosity and love.

The ways these previously unrelated women came together and bonded to support Silverstein is the subject of her new memoir, "My Glory Was I Had Such Friends." Silverstein shared with Salon how a grueling experience became one of transcendent grace, and what it taught her.

On the healing power of friendship:

I am alive because my friends were there and they got me through. That was not going to happen without them.

On the special nature of female relationships:

Women's friendship is spectacular. It is healing. In my case, it was miraculously healing. The power of women is something to behold, especially as women grow older and their empathy expands with their age. At its best, friendship is unselfish. I saw this in a sparkling way when my friends made a spreadsheet and flew out to California to be with me and rearranged their lives.

On the give and take of great friendship:

Being a good friend is listening with open ears and not being selective and trying to hear what you want to hear, but really hearing what the other person is saying without judgment. 

Friendship is letting friends in and letting them give you what you need, and not denying them that experience because they want to give. I really feel that friendship  blossoms and everybody benefits when sometimes you just take a little bit.

Shortly after the announcement that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot was developing the book as a limited series, Silverstein appeared on “Salon Talks” to discuss her memoir and talked about how her friends rallied around her and what lessons others can learn from her experience.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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