It was end of winter at the park. I saw three women walking – heads down, hands in pockets of their jackets. They were walking briskly. I passed them a couple of times. They were good friends, that much I could tell. It was plainly clear that one of them was crying.
I was getting the stroller back into my trunk, and I unassumingly heard her say ,“I know.”, shaking her head.
They breezed by.
The poignant look on her face; the tears in her eyes. Her two friends -they were right there; right there with her. In grief, fear, sadness, depression, anger, disbelief…it didn’t matter what it was, they were feeling it hard with their friend.
Maybe it was a feeling they had experienced themselves. And instead of going into a downward spiral with her, they knew their best role. The palpable pain – they would feel it with her, let her know it was ok for it to exist and feel it, and remind her that she’ll eventually release it. In this, they’re carrying some of that burden and lightening the load on their friend’s shoulders. They’re gradually lifting her up.
Each time I saw them, it was only a glimpse, but what I witnessed in those fleeting moments was something I’m grateful to know well…the blessing of sisterhood.
Regardless of how much you love your partner or how close you are with your kids, there is nothing like that friend who just knows. You don’t even have to say anything. You just cry and she says “I know”, and you say “I know”, and you walk.
And you know she really, truly DOES KNOW. And there doesn’t have to be an explanation for your feelings or your behavior or your need to cry. And there doesn’t have to be a solution. What? There doesn’t have to be a solution. You just put your hands in your pockets on that chilly day and walk.
For as long as I can remember my mom has cherished friendships with women that honored and exemplified sisterhood.
One group of friends, in particular, go back to high school. They went to an all-girl Catholic high school called Ursuline Academy, graduating class of 1971. They even formed their own singing group. Ironically, they called themselves “Old Friends” from the Simon and Garfunkel song. MaryJane (Maj), Mom (Norma), Nancy, Pam and MaryJo. Pam played guitar. Someone, somewhere has video of their singing. They were awesome! The picture below…that’s them! My mom is in the front on the left. Not awesome quality on the pic, but they were all strikingly gorgeous.
Every Christmas in the early 80’s as a little girl, I remember sneaking down the hallway to get a glimpse of them sharing wine and laughing. Their laughter!! They would laugh till they cried. Dad would sometimes be hanging out with them. I could never blame him.
They still get together, and they still honor one another. Their friendship as a group, and their individual relationships are something I’ve admired throughout the years.
Their love for one another even transcends politics! (Ha! Yes it does! I’ve seen it firsthand – and recently!)
Their love for one another transcends the frailty of life.
When I saw these three friends at the park, what can I say? It struck me. Like sometimes out of nowhere, you’re just walking along minding your own, and BAAMMM…get knocked over the head with something. It was like that.
These women today – they had each other. No matter the pain. They were ok admitting they needed something. And in one another were able to (maybe even temporarily) fill that need.
It struck me with gratitude.
I was catapulted to a time as an eight year old girl when I didn’t yet understand what it meant for my mom to have Pam or Nancy. It raced me through my years of growing and building my own cherished relationships. And now as an almost 40 year old woman, I can appreciate and celebrate that gift in my own life.
That little glimpse today caused me to pause in my busy tracks and think about all the times I’ve needed my friends or they’ve needed me. And how by being human and open and sharing our weaknesses with one another we were able to avoid traps of jealousy and incited competition and be nothing but a soft place to land and a warm safe-house for one another – no matter what.
All while loading my toddler into the car, my nose burned a little bit and tears dropped and I felt this deep love and thankfulness for the women in my life and what they mean to me – what we mean to each other.
I love you girls, and you know who you are.
Some things really are that simple.
featured image credit: judasblack.tumblr.com