Death is never easy. When it’s the death of a child, it seems unforgivable. I spent this past weekend with my childhood friend celebrating the life of her twelve-year-old son who lost his battle with cancer. Cancer sucks.
The gathering was everything you would expect: tears, memories, grief, laughter, and more tears.
What did surprise me, though, was the incredible outpouring of strength.
It was more than offers of condolences, held hands, or passed boxes of kleenex though.
Because sometimes in life that’s what we need: the courage and strength to make it through another moment. Not a month. Not a day. But the next 60 seconds.
For some absurd reason, though, we often expect women to innately have the strength of 40 people.
We don’t expect a baseball player to play every position on the field, or a football player to simultaneously play quarterback and running back. But, too often we expect women to play every role, and do them perfectly.
We silently scoff at the package of store-bought cookies next to the plate of homemade. We judge decor, parties, and projects by their “pintrest worthiness.” And, we feel the need to apologize out for so-called imperfections.
This doesn’t seem to happen with men. A guy who cooks, cleans, and is handy? Well, that tends to equate to finding the Holy Grail.
We accept our children’s individual strengths: art, science, math, music, athleticism without expecting them to effortlessly excel in each area. So, why is so difficult to support each other’s strengths as women.
Put a minor obsticle in front of me (denied reservations at the car rental, upgrades reformatting my comfortable computer settings) and I start to unravel; give me a true crisis, however, and I am your rock.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a village to raise a parent.
We need the friend we can call when we need to laugh, the friend we call to confide our darkest secrets, and the friend we call who can stay silent on the other end of the phone and let us sob without interruption.
Rarely are they the same person.
That’s what I recognized this weekend, the power behind individual strengths. There were caregivers, organizers, distractors, and experts. But they all meant the same thing- I am here, not for you, but with you. Use this strength of mine to fuel your own.
Imagine the possibilities if we fed off each other’s strengths as opposed to feeding each other, and ourselves, negativity.
Someone told me: death is never convenient, it will never come at an acceptable time.
Combining our individual strengths into one powerful energy, however, can help ease the pain and make each 60 seconds a little more bearable.