I believe in the love of a good woman. Actually, several good women. Much has been made of how women compete for men, for upper management, for fashion, for other women. How we can be catty, petty and downright beastly to each other. But in my experience, it is in sisterhood that I find hope, sometimes from a complete stranger.
Less than a month after my husband moved out of the house, one of my dearest friends, Carlos, was murdered. This violent loss, so closely following another more intimate absence, knocked me off my feet. Past 40 and alone, I finally understood the meaning of the word, “stricken.” That was me, struck down, knees buckled, my cheek pressed to the bathroom floor.
My women friends gave what they knew how to offer, without hesitation. Bea rocked me while I sobbed; Regina phoned from Barcelona and hummed her comfort; Jackie made me tortilla soup; Raney brought me flowers from her garden; Janet held my hand through the funeral and wiped the snot from my face; Karen phoned every morning to make sure I got out of bed. Mandy, said it best, “You’re our baby bird, now. We’ll feather you a nest till you can fly on your own.”
At a crowded dinner the night before Carlos’ funeral, his cousin played one of his last voice messages. Suddenly, Carlos’ laughter filled the room — his wit, his intellect, his full on love. Gasping from the blow, I staggered out the front door, doubled over on the porch and grabbed hold of a post. In that moment, I thought sorrow would take me. And frankly, I was a bit relieved.
Then a woman appeared, wearing a short skirt and peasant blouse, someone I’d never seen before. A lovely, curly-haired woman. “Here, take this,” she said, offering a glass of water. “I was Carlos’ friend, too. Maybe we can help each other.” But really, Amy helped me.
Those first few months, Amy called every night, late, because she knew I couldn’t sleep. Mostly, she asked simple questions: “What did you eat for lunch? How’s work going? Any plans for the weekend? ” Yet, for all those soft lit conversations, we never shared a meal, rented a movie, or even sipped coffee together. She was a voice on the telephone, offering normalcy, humor, illumination. The day I signed my divorce papers, she left a voice message. “Just let go. You must, at any time, let it all go so that you can pass through the eye of a new dream.”
Soon, I’ll have to move out of my house. The last part of my old dream with my husband shuffled off to the highest bidder. My burly brothers will show up to move the sofa, the boxes of books, the bed. And my sisters, they’ll show up, too. Because we all know they’re the ones that do the heavy lifting.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.