I have been feeling so melancholy lately. I know it's a result of the hormones, the inability to smell anything without wanting to throw up, throwing up or dry heaving every single day, and not getting enough sleep in general. But this post isn't about me. It's about the strong women I know. This is dedicated to Mindy, Jenni, Mom, Gma, and Great Gramma.
One of my best friends is having a really rough time right now. Her dad had bypass surgery about two weeks ago. He's recovering well, but it was unexpected and scary. Her 37 year old cousin who had a baby JUST a week ago today, is brain dead after having congestive heart failure (sudden and unexpected) and collapsing. The baby's father isn't around. And my friend and her hubby would like to open their home to this week old infant. Add that to the fact that my friend has her OWN things to think about...including a baby on the way that's just four weeks behind mine... and I don't know how she does it.
My bestest friend (since I was 8) just moved back to our hometown with her three kids. Her husband is in the Marines, and doesn't get out til next year...so she's a single mom with three school age kids, missing the love of her life, and taking a job that she's not thrilled with, in order to keep the boat afloat. I know you're asking, "Why did they buy a house before he was out of the military?" The house came along, it was perfect. The timing may not have been perfect, but sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, right? Personally, I'm SO grateful she's down in my hometown. I've missed her a heap and a bunch over the years. Just being able to go down and be silly with her is nice. Over Thanksgiving, I was able to go out on the porch with her and sit and huddle under her cape/coat thingee with her, just as we used to when we were teenagers, and stalking guys. :) It was so good to get a pep talk from her, and to have her remind me of the strength that I have within me to change my life. How on earth does she find the strength to support me, when she's got so much to deal with on her own? Our "song" has always been "Wing Beneath my Wings," and she is indeed that to me.
And then there's my mother. I never knew the strength my Mama had in her until I saw her nursing my grandfather during his last days. I think I knew she was strong, really, I do. She's not had the easiest time in life, lots of time because of her own choices, but she still persevered. Anyhow, during Grandpa's illness, I went down home frequently to give her a break from her 24 hour shifts of nursing. And there were times that she had to cry, because it was HARD to watch Grandpa die so slowly. Yet so quickly. But so often, she was patient with him, serving him in love. There were times that she called me, asked me to make a trip down when I wasn't planning on it, but even that showed her strength. To know when you're at your wits end takes a level of strength that most of us are afraid to realize. Even now, thinking of how she tenderly took care of him when he was mean and belligerent makes me realize how amazing she is.
My grandmother is strong not only in the shadow of my grandfather's death, but in her own right. She was a military wife (Gpa was in the Army) and moved three kids around the country, world. She did what was necessary to keep things running smoothly, even when I know it wasn't what she wanted to do. She's an amazing artist, both with painting and with flowers. (She did my flowers for my wedding) Her strength is evident in her art. She now has emphysema and is on oxygen most of the time. It's not easy for her to get around, yet she does. I know she'd say that the joy of the Lord is her strength, and that's another reason I think she's so strong. To be so absolute in her faith, even when the world around her is shaking, well, that speaks volumes to me.
My great grandmother is 96 years old. She's been divorced, buried a husband, and has buried two sons. Up until her car keys were confiscated by my grandpa, she still drove herself around and did tons in the community. She's always worked, and supported herself. Even though I know she doesn't see much point in getting up these days, she still does. She puts in her hearing aids (not willingly, mind you), and keeps on going. How she does it is beyond me.
So I'm getting over my melancholy mood. I'm taking a page from the strong women in my life. Even when it's hard to get up, hard to function, hard to live, I know that I'll keep on living. Keep on loving, even when it hurts, keep on breathing even when it makes me sick to breathe. :)