A Tribute to the ‘Stand Alone Women’ in my life – Women’s Month August 2020
Stand-alone – adjective – intended, designed, or able to be used or to function alone or separately, not connected to or requiring connection to something else: self-contained. Https://www.merriam-webster.com
Every year in August, we pay tribute to women. It is a very noble gesture, but this should not only be the focus one month in a calendar year. I have a large circle of loyal friends. Most of us have been part of one another’s lives for many years. Some of us have known each other since 1975, when we all wrote Grade twelve exams together. Others I got to know really well through church activities over the last thirty odd years and others are beautiful acquaintances from other areas of my life.
It has amazed me all these years just how many of the women in my friendship circle are ‘stand alone women’. Many are divorced or widowed and some have no family members to support them either. I worked with many seniors during my years at a retirement village and there, this was the case as well. These women were from varying occupations and many achieved marvelous things during their younger and latter years. Doris grew up in London and joined the army to fight a war. Sheila never married, so that she could look after her ailing parents and did so until they passed on. Victoria hid ‘enemies of the state’ in her house during the apartheid years and brazenly took sandwiches and coffee to the police members who continually watched her house. Elizabeth suffered tremendous trauma as a young child and struggled with depression. Many other women there fought cancers and illnesses bravely, without the support of family members or spouses.
In my closer circle of friends, divorce has all but crippled some of them. Children have abandoned a few of my girlfriends, or moved across the seas to start new lives. Others have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They now live in hope of a new opportunity when we return to a different kind of normal in the future.
These ‘stand alone women’ are my best friends. We have stood together through every circumstance imaginable and will be there for one another for many years in the future. I have learnt so much from these women over the decades, as they show up every time, no matter what life throws at them. The strong bond of friendship has bound us together and we have created a new family in the absence of blood families.
I salute the Abigail’s, the Mary’s, the Victoria’s, the Sheila’s, the Julia’s, the Natalie’s, and all the unknown women who stand alone. They raise their children, hold down stressful occupations, and fill the shoes of two parents, all in a day’s work. I have always maintained that the bravest women in the world are those who just get up and face the world on their own every day.