Thursday, August 05, 2010

Da Count & Friday 55-The Widows

FRIDAY 55

They are a sisterhood
bound not by blood
but by loss,
strength,
and regained joy.
They are a circle of matriarchs
which tightens to protect each member,
loosens to welcome
those newly initiated.
Today
they march slowly,
shoulder to shoulder.
They enter quietly,
sit in dignified repose,
and bid farewell
to one of their own.



DA COUNT

I have often been struck by the groups of widows I have known.  In my mother's family the men die young but the women seem to be blessed with longevity (yes, we know this makes us ripe for certain jokes).  the widows in my mother's family are zesty women.  They mourn their husbands but their own lives do not cease.  They soon find their feet back under them as they are surrounded by those who refuse to let them retreat into hermitted sadness for too long.

As a young teen I spent a lot of time with my widowed grandmother who had a circle of widowed friends who all enjoyed a great number of adventures with each other.  They thought nothing of hopping in the car with my grandmother at the wheel to drive hours away on the spur of the moment.  Many times they'd end up at my house for a break midway.  They were an animated delight.  When my grandmother died I remember them greeting my mother and me in the receiving line and how the strength of their bonds and endurance of life gave me a sense of hope when I needed it.  I remember seeing them lined up in one row smiling up at me and nodding me through enduring standing in that line.  They had all spent many times in such lines and yet they found their smiles again.

I adore the group of widows at my church.  The youngest is in her 80s. They are no shrinking violets.  They are no mournful shadows of their former selves.  They seize life.  One still cares for a severely handicapped adult son.  They create with gusto, whether it's food, or gardens, or clothing.  They volunteer.  They let their opinions be known.  They are a tight circle of caring...both for each other and for younger women.

This week one of them left this life.  Florence was 93.  She had been a widow since she was 41.  She still lived in her own home.  She was in good health and her mind was sharp to the end.  She had a wonderfully dry sense of humor and a gentle spirit.  I also witnessed her deftly set in his right place a supposed leader who had been shockingly rude and publicly disrespectful. She loved to join us "younger girls" for movie nights or parties. She was among the group who came together in February to dye our hair pink in support of a friend with cancer.  Saturday night she went to sleep in her own bed and never woke up.  Thursday we gathered to say goodbye to her and once again I was struck by the enduring dignity, gentleness, and strength of the tribe of widows as I watched them encircle Florence's grief-stricken daughter and as they said goodbye to their "sister."

28 comments:

KB said...

Sounds like a very strong group of women. In my experience, men become more solitary but women band together in this stage of their lives. Thanks for sharing.

Mine’s here.

g-man said...

Trini...
When you put your mind to it, you are as good a poet as they come!
What a crazy, witty, beautiful soul you are. I'm Damn proud and honored to be your friend.
My Most Loyal Commenter EVER!!!!!
Merci Ma Chere, tu es tres belle, es tres joli.

magiceye said...

support groups are life savers!
loved your verse - exceptional sobriety

moondustwriter said...

a sweet tribute to this strong lady who never gave up.

Nice my dear

Love from the Moon

Alice Audrey said...

You remind me of when my grandfather died and people I had no idea knew the family came out to show their solidarity and loss.

Claudia said...

..a widow since 41..oh man - not easy - but love her positive way of looking at life
also love ...shoulder to shoulder... sounds so comforting..

John's comments said...

Interesting theme for a poem and food for thought. Is widowhood still as a powerful social role now? If you want to hear (yes hear!) or read my Friday 55 Flash fiction then click here. Hope you have a good weekend!

Brian Miller said...

there is something to be said of a group that will stand by each other for so long...through all the heartache and sunshine...nice 55..

Kat said...

If only every woman knew how much strength they really possessed.

She sounds like an amazing woman. And dying in my sleep at the ripe old age of 93 certainly is how I would like to go.

Still, I imagine it is a big loss for you and those who knew her. I am very sorry for your loss.

Jingle said...

heartfelt 55,
this group is inspiring,
very beautiful minds there to stick together and face life as it is...

Eric Alder said...

Wonderful take on one of the many types of ties that bond people together.



WORD VERIFICATION: tralsis

DEFINITION: becoming hynotized by the trail you are walking upon

Suldog said...

Having now been married for a while, I admire more and more the strength of those whose lives have been altered via the death of their most beloved. Nicely done, Lime.

S said...

That so sweet.
I have a friend that is 92, her name is Harveelee from Texas.
She comes to my market booth and play guitar and sings "yellow rose of texas" and other such gems.
I just think she's fabulous!

Mama Zen said...

This sounds very much like the women of my family!

secret agent woman said...

I hope someday to be part of a group of old women like that. Although it won't likely be because I'm a widow!

Craver Vii said...

That's rough, being widowed at such a young age. She was a widow for most of her life, but it sounds like she knew how to make the adjustment in a healthy way. If I go before my wife, I think she'll be alright, too.

Cooper said...

may be that's the trick to long life...

may she rest in peace...

Jocelyn said...

Ah, girl, I'm sorry. At the same time I'm so glad all of you got to know and enjoy her--and learn from her.

Terrific writing about a subculture that is little acknowledged.

~Dragonfly~* said...

May we all be so blessed at the end of our days to be surrounded by love and supportive friends.

You are blessed Lime to have been witness to such warmth and love.

~DF~*

~Tim said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, but what an inspiring approach to life.

Cricket said...

Very nice. Reminds me of my Nana and "her girls." They all outlived their husbands, and she outlived them all. I knew most of them and I'm glad of that.

Embee said...

I love this beautiful tribute... So eloquently written.

I know women who have come 'unglued' after losing their spouses. Sadly, my Grandmother was one of them. Dementia/Alzheimers seemed to take her straight away.

Though I dread the thought of ever finding myself in the role of 'Widow', I DO hope I can call upon this post for guidance and strength.

Mona said...

Bound together by loss. That is such a beautiful expression...

Craig said...

You capture this very well. My grandmother was a widow for nearly 18 years, and she had a similar group of widow-lady-friends.

Florence was a widow for 52 years - that just boggles my mind. To put it another way, she was widowed when I was two years old. . .

Logophile said...

I love the way you honored Florence and your readers by telling her story, and sharing it with us.

What a gift to have in your life and therefore, what a loss.

Hugs, my friend. Looking forward to being a strong, independent senior citizen with you, whether we are widows or not!

Dave said...

I enjoyed your gentle and admiring story of these wonderful widows. There are many like them here as our men seem to die before their wives too, but the women get on with their lives and make other women friends and enjoy their remaining life in each other's company. - Dave

Palm Springs Savant said...

Imagine being a widow for 50 some-odd years? Wow. I have a few long term widows in our family, strong women for sure.

DianeCA said...

I am sorry for your loss, but I think that is how life should be lived. We only get one go round here on this earth, and we can mourn our loved ones but when God calls them home we must do the best we can with the life we have left. God Bless her, she must have been a good soul and a fortunate woman.