Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 23, 2007
Inspirational Women — by Dr. Liara Covert
I was thinking about women I’ve known and come to admire. Sure, there are the ones we read about from history and hear about in the news. Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, Isabella Bird and Melinda Gates are among women who enter my mind. Yet, who among the women you know truly motivate and inspire you? What is it about certain women that cause you to feel good inside?
Some of us will think of mothers, grandmothers and other relatives who might have raised us or guided some of our life choices. Then, of course, there may be teachers, neighbors, bosses and mentors from previous jobs, maybe even leaders in the arenas you have known. Some of the women you admire may simply exhibit everyday greatness in their own traits such as compassion and love. I reflect on women in all of the above-mentioned roles who have touched my life in many ways and helped me to grow into the woman I am today.
All the same, my thoughts go out especially to two older women, whose life stories enable me to see my own choices differently. Their friendships are blessings that enrich my life.
One woman is a frail, 84 year old seamstress at 4 foot 10 inches tall. I met her when she made me a bridesmaid’s dress for a wedding that was abruptly called off last minute. Whenever I visit her city, we share a cup of tea in her kitchen. I phone her regularly. She’s one of ten children who left home at age 16. Although near the middle of the pack, she wanted to lessen burdens on her mother. This seamstress bravely rode a bus to the nearest city where she since lived and made a fortune in friends. Over the four years I’ve known her, I learned she initially worked for 50 cents a week, tending house and preparing meals, but wasn’t fed herself. For many years, she worked long shifts in a brush factory. The man she married became an alcoholic. Yet, she nursed him tenderly at home as he died of lung cancer. Living independently, she keeps a sparkle in her eye as she sews to supplement her small pension. She even gardens and helps her daughter mow the patch of lawn. This seamstress insisted on saving her pennies to buy a new car. She drives in city and also over 3 hours away to visit living relatives.
The other woman who comes to mind right now is the wife of a former U.S. Air Force pilot. I met her ten years ago through a friend. The pilot and his wife retired in Florida . They moved a lot, raised a family and shared heralding experiences, including discovering a boa constrictor around a toilet in Central America . Now, they’re both in their eighties. I phone this woman friend regularly as well. The woman has a benign tumor yet, still cares for her sick husband round-the-clock at home. He has been repeatedly in hospital for surgery and depends on his wife for most things, including diaper changes. Many days during the week, she drives him to and from a military rehabilitation centre. She has the patience of a saint and the stamina of a thoroughbred, at least until she tires out and falls asleep in her favorite chair.
Like other women, these friends I describe are human. If they seem to falter, they still give us hope. They remind us that feeling alive means being true to those people we cherish, and those pastimes that enable us to better understand who we are. These women remind me not to confuse the length of relationships with the quality. They also remind me that as you learn that people are always with you in your heart and soul, you are never really separated.