New friends at 50

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - In Our Experience -

SHOSHI GREEN­FIELD, 58, is di­vorced and has two adult sons. She works as a sales con­sul­tant and lives in Eden­vale. Her best friend of 11 years, Jash­vanti Khoosal, 61, from Bruma, is a semire­tired com­modi­ties trader and is also a di­vorced mom of two grown-up kids.

“I didn’t like Jash­vanti – now J’su to me – right off the bat. I re­mem­ber her look­ing me up and down when we first met at a busi­ness meet­ing and I thought, ‘Who is this judge­men­tal wo­man?’ It turns out, she was just suss­ing me out – she’d al­ready de­cided I was the kind of per­son she could be friends with! As soon as we started chat­ting though, I re­alised how much we had in com­mon. At the time, we were both work­ing hard as com­modi­ties traders, sin­gle with kids and a flair for the dra­matic. A fast friend­ship was in­evitable and we’ve be­come in­sep­a­ra­ble over the years, work­ing on busi­ness projects to­gether, get­ting to know each other’s fam­i­lies, singing karaoke on week­ends and tak­ing up ball­room-dancing classes.

We’d shared so much joy in our friend­ship that when J’su got ter­ri­ble news in 2016, I was left reel­ing. She was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. I couldn’t be­lieve it, but I stepped up and ral­lied round her as part of her sup­port net­work – her kids and four sisters were also there ev­ery step of the way. Through the surgery, chemo and ra­di­a­tion, her pos­i­tiv­ity was astounding. She’d dance with her drip ma­chine, and make other pa­tients burst with laughter.

J’su and I have strong per­son­al­i­ties, so we clash at times. As a be­liever in holis­tic heal­ing meth­ods, she never wanted to go for chemo. We had sev­eral ar­gu­ments about it be­fore I even­tu­ally booked us a trip to Mau­ri­tius to get our minds off it all and just have fun. When we got home, feel­ing re­laxed and calm, J’su’s sisters and I con­vinced her to give

West­ern medicine a chance. She wasn’t happy, but did it; now she’s fight­ing fit.

She’s there for me, too. I’ve had the odd health scare and my blood pres­sure isn’t good. At some check-ups, she’s re­fused to let the doc­tor see her be­fore he’s tended to me! We chat ev­ery day and, even if we go for weeks with­out see­ing each other, as soon as we’re to­gether again, it’s as if no time has passed.

We’ve been through life’s usual ups and downs to­gether – we hated each other’s boyfriends for a while and, thank­fully, those re­la­tion­ships ended and we kept the one that mat­ters: ours! We’ve also been at our kids’ big birth­day par­ties, gone on trips to­gether and laughed out­ra­geously all the while. It’s a joy­ous friend­ship we formed later in life, but a strong one of mu­tual sup­port.”

J’su says...

“Shoshi has been so sup­port­ive, driv­ing me to my doc­tor ap­point­ments, sit­ting with me dur­ing chemo and ex­plain­ing all the med­i­cal jar­gon. My jour­ney with can­cer has been com­pli­cated. I first dis­cov­ered it in my breasts in 2016. A year later, on my 60th, it had moved to my brain. Yet, some­how, I made it to re­mis­sion and here I am – happy and healthy as ever. I think the rea­son I beat can­cer is be­cause I’m sur­rounded by real-life an­gels – my num­ber one an­gel is Shoshi.

We fol­low a ‘worst’ with a ‘best’. Af­ter my di­ag­no­sis, we booked that amaz­ing Mau­ri­tius trip; af­ter ra­di­a­tion, we’d go for lunch at Mike’s Kitchen; af­ter my gamma knife surgery, we went for a pic­nic at Zoo Lake and I rowed un­der the bridge in a lit­tle boat. It’s what gets me through – know­ing there’s fun on the other side with my best friend.” >>

‘J’su’s pos­i­tiv­ity in­spires me’

Shoshi (right) and Jash­vanti, or J’SU, have be­come in­sep­a­ra­ble af­ter meet­ing later in life

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