Though I have always enjoyed friendships with women of all ages, most of my contemporaries have now turned 40.
This is a milestone no matter what we tell ourselves, and is invariably a time to reflect and take stock.
Though aging, per say, has never really bothered me that much, I did find my world a little bit rocked a few years ago on my 40th,
by my own relentless and critical self-assessments of
where I thought I should be at, and what I hadn’t yet accomplished.
As with everything, once I managed to put a halt to the tricky mind games and flip everything in the direction of gratitude and love, it all looked pretty rosy again.
And so it is with my friends too,
once the birthday celebrations are complete,
here is what I am so often noticing about the women that I see and know that are now moving through their fourth decade….
They are far more likely to articulate how they really feel and what they intend and believe, without worrying about how it will be received.
They stand taller, smile more, and open up their hearts and hands more freely.
They have experienced loss, conflict, heart-ache, disappointment and they are thus stronger, wiser and far more beautiful than ever before.
They are less judgmental and less apt to dismiss, disengage, or allow themselves to be disempowered.
They have learned when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’.
They love their families, their friends, and the world with a passion and intensity that only grows with the passing years.
They are hopeful and are ready for change and adventure.
Many years ago, I heard the Dalai Lama’s surprising and famous quote, ‘The world will be saved by the western woman.’ I remember repeating this idea to Dan, and he whole-heartedly agreed.
So, my radiant girlfriends, let’s get to it….
We have so many incredible and unprecedented resources at our disposal, and the confidence, understanding and love to move mountains.
This week was the eighth anniversary of my mom’s death. I know that the word ‘deathday’ seems morbid and abrupt, but still I decided to use it,
because we need a word for that day that speaks to the absolute truth of what it is.
In Mexico, of course, they have the ‘Day of the Dead’ which is a holiday that has spread around the world to many cultures, and continues to gain worldwide popularity.
What a beautiful and healing and necessary concept,
time set aside to stop and remember,
and celebrate our dead and our ancestors.
I know and have met so many people who have lost someone very close, and then struggle to create meaning on the anniversaries of the deaths of their beloveds,
often attempting to create their own little rituals or ways of remembering.
On facebook, we see posts all the time on anniversaries of loss –
tributes and photos,
because our hearts desperately yearn to remember and we have no day set aside for our dead.
It can be so easy to sit in a sense of aimlessness on that anniversary, not quite knowing what to do,
or where to focus the emptiness and that need to
You are gone, but you will always exist.
It doesn’t matter if it has been a year since the loss, or fifty years,
that yearning to simply acknowledge doesn’t just go away with time.
So, my beautiful mother that I adored heart and soul,
and all of my grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles and friends and my dearest mentor,
and my unborn baby too,
you are not here anymore for me to talk to and hug and live out all of life’s moments with, but
I still see you and hear you and feel you,
and know you.
You are my dead and on this day I am proclaiming
that I love you still.
Carol’s Radiant Garden
The ‘ritual’ that has evolved over the last eight years for us to honour and remember mom on the anniversary of her death, June 11,
is the planting of her garden in the planters beside our front steps.
Every year the kids and I choose a ‘theme’ and then let loose in the greenhouse, concerning ourselves less with flower names and care requirements,
and more with colour, feel and thematic appropriateness.
Some of our themes over the years have been
fairy garden, prairie grasses, enchanted forest, and the tropics.
The year Olivia came up with…..sunshine garden!
So, here it is, mom, your newest radiant and love-filled realm….
We all planted it last night after eating pizza and drinking our very best bottle of wine.
We all most definitely love you still.