Deb and I have been friends for a long time.

In 1980 I was working for a cutting edge semi-conductor company in West Palm Beach. I was designing integrated circuits using the early versions of computer aided design (CAD) software. I worked closely with electrical engineers. A new engineer, Glenn Wells, started about the same time I did. One day Glenn asked me for a ride to work and I met his wife, Deborah, and sons Taylor (age 5) and newborn twins, Derick and Garret.

Glenn and my husband both shared a passion for sailing and teamed up to win most of the competitive Hobie Cat regattas held in Florida at the time. Deb and I hung out with the kids. We all became very good friends and had fun together.

And then a lot of things fell apart. In 1993 Taylor, at age 18, was sentenced to life in prison under the state’s Felony Murder Rule.

The story continues: deep wells of grief that is undergirded with a bond of friendship that is unshakable. Many trips to Tallahassee and dashed hopes, broken dreams. Years go by when we don’t see each other. Months go by when we don’t talk to each other. And then, all of a sudden, Deb calls and says that she will be here the next day with the twins (now age 34!) and a grandson. And it is like no time at all has passed, but the mystery of all this shared life fills the space between us.

I treasure this friendship, and the depth of humanity that being a part of this family has brought to me. I love them all deeply.

We even admitted that but for this tragedy we might have thought that the point of life was to be rich, or successful or some big shot. Now we knew that it was the holding on to each other, the sticking together through thick and thin, that gave life its lasting meaning.