This morning, driving my daughter to school my thoughts were on my awesome 'last night'.
About 5 yrs ago, I decided to start a women's group comprised of my closest 30 real friends who basically held me up when I couldn't go on after suddenly becoming a widow and single mom.
You know, its those friends who watch your kids, hire you, encourage you, hold you when you cry, mentor you, give it to you straight and can make you upset sometimes. But one thing is for sure, they add to your cup that flow-ith over!! I had a cup that was spilling over with gratitude and needed a way to 'give back'.
So, I created a group called C-LOVE (Carolyn Love), but we all just call it clove for short. We have speakers share, I share, they share and we all grow in phenomenal ways. The topics are as heartwarming as heartwrenching sometimes. I'm so honored to be in a room full of authentic women who parent, work, struggle, love, care, give and change the world with every thought. They engage me and lift me up. I've become the best woman I can with their constant support. Our logo says it all: Conscious, Luminous, Open hearted, Vital and Empowered.
Last night, I just stood in awe of them and found myself sharing a story about what I do for Valentine's Day and encouraged them to go and 'do something, just because'.
In my old neighborhood, stood a historic, beautiful home with an overgrown yard where a woman lived in seclusion. I could see that a car would leave and return, and since her driveway was on a busy street, rarely was there an opportunity to catch a glimpse of her. I would ask my neighbors if anyone had ever met the woman and received a 'no' every time-- few even knew her name but everyone knew she was widowed.
I wondered about the woman: her name, her story. So, I decided to do something 'just because'.
On Valentine's Day, the death anniversary of my late husband, we (my family) go into the world and do something to commemorate his 'spirit' and 'love' that was given to us. So, on that Valentine's Day, I went to the store and bought a beautiful bouquet of flowers and proceeded down the sidewalk to the 'mystery neighbors' house. I braved crossing the busy street and because her front yard was so overgrown, I went to the back door near her car.
I knocked and stood looking at the beautiful house designed by James Gamble Rogers II, a famous architect in Winter Park, FL. Then I heard footsteps and a door opened. I peered thru the locked screen door to a tall woman with gray hair and beautiful face. She smiled and said hello.
I smiled and said 'Hi, my name is Carolyn and I'm one of your neighbors. We've never met, but I heard you were a widow too. I'm also a widow and I just wanted you to know that I think of you'. You could see her soften and reach down to unlock the screen door, as it opened I saw the tears beginning to pool in her eyes. The face of surprise, shock was evident. I lifted my arm and extended the flowers out saying 'You are not alone. Happy Valentine's Day just because'.
Well, that's when an instant friendship was formed. She invited me in and gave me a tour of her beautiful house. She only lived in one small portion of it, it needs repair. There is no water in the swimming pool and the air was pungent with a slight mildew scent. It was a haven for her, a place where she lived with her late husband. She had a son, and he came over often. We swapped stories and then I told her how happy I was that I finally came over. I wondered why it took me so long.
We said goodbye.
The years have gone by, I went back to raising my children and watching her car in the driveway. I moved from that neighborhood and rarely get over there, but I have to say, this moment is one of the most memorable from living there for 10 yrs. Sometimes 'just because' leads you to the 'heaven' that is all around you if you are willing to go and do for others on a day when you feel like you 'need' the love. It's quite the opposite, when you give what you need, you get back 10 fold-- that's just how God works it.
I plan on taking flowers over to Joann this year, its been way too long!
Founder/ Modern Widows Club