Forging bonds for living program at Peters Township Library

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It was a moment no one wants to experience. On Christmas Eve 2006, Christine Mabon’s 44-year-old husband died of a fatal heart attack. 

“I was supported by my friends and family. I was totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love,” Mrs. Mabon, 51, said.

Mrs. Mabon of Mt. Lebanon took the lessons she learned from her friends during that difficult time and started reaching out to others to further the discussion about friends and what they mean.

On May 1, Mrs. Mabon will present “Good Friends are Comfort Food for the Soul – the Five Essential Friendships that Enhance Our Lives,” at the Peters Township Library. The free discussion will examine the five types of friends that Mrs. Mabon has identified in her life.

“We all forget at times how important our friends are. We shouldn’t wait until we are hit with a tragedy to be reminded,” she said.

After Mrs. Mabon lost her husband, Jeffrey, she began to examine the importance of her friends.

“My friends were really critical to my healing and moving forward. I can’t even imagine where I would be without them,” Mrs. Mabon said.

At the time of her husband’s death, she had two teenage sons, Andrew, now 23, and Connor, now 21. She devoted the time after his death to helping her sons heal and to healing herself. Then in 2012, she began a blog. Through The Friendship Circle, Mrs. Mabon discusses friendships and how to nurture them.

“I invite everyone to be a guest blogger and share their stories of friendship, creative activities they do with friends and recipes that have special meaning or that connect them to a special time or place,” she said.

The blog then led to the idea of a book, "The Comfort Food - One Woman's Journey to Understand the Meaning and Significance of Friendship." The book centers around a collection of recipes for the foods Mrs. Mabon’s friends shared with her and the stories they told when they brought that food. She is still working on the book.

“Someone would hand me a dish and say, ‘My grandmother always used to make this. And they would also spend time with me and that really helped me heal,” she said.

After collecting stories of friendship, Mrs. Mabon said she began to realize the five types of friends in her life: the anchor friend, the wise friend, the nurturing friend, the friend you have fun with and the friend with new ideas.

“I think we all have essential friendships that enrich our lives, and the different types of friendships keep us whole and healthy,” she said.

Mrs. Mabon said the presentations evolved out of studying her own life and friends, and was the next step in her journey. She began reaching out to local libraries to share her thoughts and experiences.

“Mrs. Mabon contacted me about sharing her story and, after visiting her web site and reading an article about her, I was intrigued. We want to encourage women to sustain their friendships,” said Pier Lee, director of the Peters Township Public Library.

Hosting Mrs. Mabon to talk about friendship was a natural for the library, said Mrs. Lee.

“Many  [women] became friends here at the library while bringing their children to a storytime or participating in one of our many clubs,” she continued.

Mrs. Mabon said she wants to continue studying and sharing thoughts on friendships. 

“I would love to become known as ‘the friendship woman,’” she said. 

Mrs. Mabon will be at the Peters Township Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 1. 

The program also will be presented at other libraries, including  Bethel Park, May 10; Moon Township Public Library, June 10;  Green Tree Library, June 23 and Upper St. Clair Library, Sep.22. Check with the libraries for times and meeting rooms.

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer:

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