I consider myself lucky in that I have friends in nearly every age group. My closest friends, though, are about the same age as me. And that means that we are all getting older together...which inevitably means we will reach one milestone women hate.
That’s the time when one of us loses her mother. Women have very intense, complicated, but most often hugely rewarding relationships with their mothers. After all, we learn nearly everything from our moms. At one point we all start saying a lot of the things our mothers said....and even sounding like them.
So when the time comes for our mothers to pass on, it is a very difficult time. This month my friend G. lost her mother. Her death wasn’t a surprise, but that didn’t make it any easier.
When a woman loses a parent, her girlfriends rally around her. Because few things come close to the awful experience of having to bury your mother.
I’m old enough that a few of my friends have passed this milestone. And the only thing I can do is be there for them, give them emotional support, and listen when they want to talk. When G’s mother died, she finally called me a few nights later. And she talked. And talked. About all kinds of things. It didn’t matter what it was. She just wanted someone to be there and listen. So we talked for 90 minutes.
I can’t imagine what my friend has gone through. I know when my mom passes on it will leave such an enormous hole in my life and in my heart that I won’t know what to do. But I do know that I will have friends who’ll help me through the process and who’ll share their experiences with me.
In the meantime, there’s two things I can do to honour both my mother and my girlfriends.
1) I take every single opportunity to spend time with my mom, who is getting on in years. I talk to her nearly every day, go on vacation with her, and help her as much as I can. And when we’re together, I am 100% present.
2) I make sure to support my girlfriends who have suffered this terrible loss, or who have parents in elderly care. I try to give comfort and be there as much as I can. Sometimes, a shoulder is all you can lend.
So please remember; your girlfriends will be your support system when you reach this milestone. In the meantime...enjoy your time together.