In so many ways, my mom was the first wise woman in my life. She taught me so many important skills and virtues which I use every day. She instilled a love of learning and reading in me which aided me in achieving so many of my goals. I post this Wise Woman essay in her honor, and because even as she lay dying, she passed on knowledge I will use in the future.

My Mother's Friendship Circle

While growing up I don't remember my mom having lots of close friends to support her through her bad times and cheer during her good times.  Oh sure, she had friends, the wives of my dad's buddies—and some of these women became wonderful friends, not just couple friends. Mom also found new friends in church, or with the women who bonded during family camping trips.

But Mom was born and grew up in an area she never lived in as an adult.  She didn't have in her daily, adult life those Double D friends I write about now—those truly forever friends.  I often thought how this lack might have saddened her in ways she would never discuss.

Mom died recently, and in the weeks I spent caring for her, I took many phone calls from her friends, the ones sprinkled throughout her life, especially in her golden years. In my still childish self-centeredness, I figured these lovely women couldn't really be forever friends.  She hadn't had them all her life.

Was I wrong!  And happily so, for I learned that friendships to be valued come at any point in a woman's life.  Yes, those women from church, camping groups, card club, and others Mom met through my dad spoke to me of their love and concern for my mom. 

One of these women called to talk with Mom just a few days before Mom died.  I told Mom's friend, Mary, that Mom was sleeping at that time.  Mary then proceeded to tell me how much she valued Mom's friendship, that while they knew each other socially while my dad and her husband were alive, it was after their husband's deaths, that they became very close.  Mary said she wished she'd had more time in years to share with Mom, but those early years when they were raising families, struggling to get through life, friendship was the part of life that got set aside—till later.

When that later time finally arrived in their lives, Mom and Mary and other women like them bonded in ways I'd been very lucky to have with many of my friends since elementary or high school.  This fact made me very happy for Mom, for her friend Mary, and the others in their group, who found deep supportive friendship at a time of life when some women become more isolated.  Mary was not the only woman who called about Mom in those last days.  All these lovely, generous-of-spirit women had the same friendship story to tell me.  All developed their close friendship once their children were on their own and in some cases, their husbands had died.

I took other friendship phone calls for Mom in those last weeks.  A few were from friends Mom had growing up in Iowa, in a small farming community several hundred miles from where she lived as a married woman.  These women told me treasured stories about them and Mom as young women, stories I'd not heard because Mom didn't have time to reminisce about the past when I was young and when Mom did have time, I was busy raising my children and establishing a career.  Yes, I knew their names, but not their history.  These women still retained strong friendship ties with Mom even though many of them hadn't connected physically, other than with phone calls or letters for several years.

These phone calls, the stories, the feelings these women expressed to me about my mom are a special treasure I will carry with me until I die.  They gave me a unique glimpse into an aspect of my mom that I might never have gotten.  Their stories were the silver lining in the sadness of Mom's death.

How will I honor this knowledge?  Everything that happens to me or to those around me feeds my creativity.  Someday, in some manner, these women and my mom will become part of my fictional world.

Return to main Wise Women page