We are women and we survive and of course, we rely on each other to get through the heartaches of our lives.
A particular moment in time is forever captured in my memory of something a dear friend did for me as my marriage was ending.
When I first asked my ex-husband to leave our home, I couldn't sleep in our bed. It smelled of him. It didn't matter that I washed the sheets or changed the blankets and comforter. His scent lingered in our bed of twenty years. It made me crazy to still feel him there when he wasn't.
I threw away the sheets, the blanket the comforter. I bought a single pair of new sheets. I used an old blanket of the kids and borrowed a comforter from my mother. And there, I forced myself to sleep alone without his smell permeating the air of our room. I didn't like it-but I was able to rest some nights.
Six weeks later, I allowed him to come back home. I gave him the last of the second, third, hundred chances-just to be sure. I did what many women do who want to save their families. I tried again, the last hurrah. I went into it with the hope that twenty years truly meant something and there was a chance to salvage a marriage that I spent my entire adult life on and most of my dreams on.
He was back in my bed and his scent spilled again into every fiber of my bed. Our bed. I was happy for awhile-a very short while but long enough to create again a place where married people slept and made love and whispered in the night. Yet, it was also the place where I learned it was futile. There wasn't any hope left and the ending had truly started.
It was over. I knew in my heart it was over and for always. I had this panicked feeling inside of me; what will I do? How will I again replace everything in my bed? How will I sleep again when he goes and he will somehow still linger here?"
At the group home I work in, someone brought in an old blanket. I stood there and thought I will just use this. It's a start. My friend and co-worker, I shall call her Ms. Fix-it, saw me gathering the blanket up.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
I was ashamed; embarrassed that I let him in again to hurt me, humiliated to be put in this position again. "I think it's really done. I am going to have to let him go and make him leave again. I won't be able to sleep, I can't afford to replace…"
"You don't need that. When you took him back I started making you a quilt. I figured it wouldn't work and I also figured you needed to find that out on your own. I'm almost done. I'll hurry."
I went outside then, overcome, and Ms. Fix-it followed me. I cried while she stood there looking uncomfortable. I told her about my shame, my hurt and my anger at God for allowing it all. Right then, at that moment while I was looking up at the sky and shaking my fist at God, a beautiful regal hawk flew over our heads, "…and then God somehow helps in a simple way…he sends someone to make me a quilt and somehow fix a bit of it and…and.. sends me a hawk to show me he's still around here in it all." We both started laughing.
We go on, however broken we become, as women-we go on. And when we feel we can't, its other women whom tend to pull us through it by being there, by noticing what happens in our lives, by listening to every word we may never actually say. Our true friends step in when they are watching us fall. They don't stop us from falling-they can't. They just catch us in soft quilts.
Monika M. Basile