Taking friends seriously

Last night a friend phoned out of the blue to see how I was.  I had told her about Ash quite near the beginning and she'd said to get in touch if there was anything she could do and then we hadn't been contact again until yesterday.  This was nothing unusual, we're both busy and we can go months without speaking, but we go back a long way, to when Ash and I got married in fact, and she was one of the first people I met when we moved into the area.  I read a lot on forums where people are ranting because friends and acquaintances make empty gestures, offers of help when they don't mean it and inquiries about how their loved one is when they're not really interested.  I was just touched however that she had not only thought of us but had actually picked up the phone to see how we were (and that thought kept me smiling all evening).   We chatted for over an hour, caught up with family stuff on both sides and then hung up promising to talk soon.  On current experience this probably won't happen for months but it won't matter.  I know she's thinking of us and I know that if I need anything I can call her.  What I think we all need to realise is that, if someone asks how you are they want to know otherwise why would they ask;  if they offer advice, even if it's not useful, they are trying to help;  if they say the words 'let me know if you need anything' it means you can pick up the phone and ask for help.  We all need friends and I can't believe that I am the only person in this, or any other difficult situation, who has friends who mean those offers of support.  You will need to be specific as to what help you need from them but tell them what they can do to make your life easier.  If they have made the effort to remember that your life is problematic then the least you can do is take them seriously.