Dear 70Candles! Friends,
Just wanted to let you know that we had our third 70Candles Meeting this past Sunday here in New Jersey and it was wonderful once again!
Twelve lovely ladies were here to share a lovely, meaningful, social, emotional and spiritual afternoon. It seems this gathering has a way of touching all the many parts of us…We gather at first socially ing the kitchen- sharing good conversation while munching on cheese and crackers, sweets, fruit salad, dips and chips, coffee, tea etc. Then, we move into the living room and begin our meeting. Here we seem to touch the emotional, psychological and yes, at times spiritual parts of ourselves. After listening to a meaningful song for some centering thoughts, and sharing a poem or two, we begin to enter the wonderful flow of conversation and sharings. This month, we had decided to share “Challenges”- either one we are currently having or one that we had in the past, how we lived it, what we learned from it etc.
Since there were 12 of us and we knew we probably couldn’t get to everyone in one meeting, we decided that whoever wanted to share a challenge would put their name in a basket. We would then draw a name and that person would then share.
Three of our women shared amazing stories and as they did so, others who have or had had the same also shared and contributed their Wisdom and Experience.
One woman shared her journey of breast cancer and how that led her to joining with other women and forming a Community Cancer Support Center. Paying it forward in an amazing and inspiring way!
Another woman, who had always wanted to have a child, but sadly did not have this life experience, spoke about what it is like to be childless- the grief so many women who, through no fault of their own, could not have a child. She spoke about how hard it is to realize that the life that she had so dreamed of and wanted when young did not manifest…and how lonely it is to not have a child, grandchildren…How hard it is when others minimized her pain- or told her how lucky she was that she could do whatever she wanted, travel etc. – when all she ever wanted was to have a child, a family.
This woman’s story opened our eyes and hearts tremendously to a seldom talked about topic in our society…the grief many women carry silently in their hearts because they have never known the joy of having a child.
A third woman spoke about the challenge of her mother’s death – from the time this woman was five years old, her mother was ill. The mother passed when the daughter was 21. She addressed how no one ever talked about the mothers’ illness or passing, that she had no framework to understand death…and how it wasn’t until she was in her early 60’s that she really was able to face how this death impacted and influenced her life. We spoke about how to talk about death to family members, even to grandchildren who ask questions about death- how do we answer them? It led to an amazing discussion.
Though our topics were serious, I cannot begin to tell you how good everyone felt as the meeting ended. It was like we all uplifted one another…I said to myself that this was more than just a social “get together” and it wasn’t therapy either- it was something magically in between– a meaningful sharing of our life experiences, of the Wisdom learned and the questions we still face as we grow older. And, yes, it was a wonderful way for all of us to come to know one another more.
Recently I went to lunch with another friend and she said to me the one thing that she most wants to feel before she dies is to feel that she is truly KNOWN…That is a profound statement. Many people think they “know” someone- but what they truly know is just the surface or just their projections or their judgments or “storylines” about a person. This group- as it is coming together- truly is offering the participants, a place where they can feel supported, embraced and KNOWN…
I hope that others will think about forming such groups in your own communities…Being able to speak and have others there who are truly listening is a great experience. Very Healing…and very needed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this entry- I just wanted to share and thank you for providing us with the “GPS” to helping one another as we touch 70 and beyond!
With Love and Gratitude,