Today I was chatting with a new friend about ideas for MidChix. We ran the gamut from PR people, to nonprofits, to smart folks who I should meet. But the topics that we kept coming back to all happened to involve stories about women who have had their lives unravel in the tick of a New York minute. The fact is that all of our lives, no matter how filled with family, friends, appointments, belongings, obligations, or routines, have the potential to crumble before our very eyes.
Whether your husband walks in the door the day after the in-vitro finally takes and tells you he's in love with someone else, or you pick up the phone and hear the news that your high school sweetheart and spouse of 50 years just collapsed at work, or the father of your children accuses you of negligence, and because he's a lawyer, wins custody...you are blindsided.
There are more and more women facing these kinds of circumstances. It occurs to me that the chances of any of us being in the same boat are increasing even as I type. What can or should we do to prepare for these potentialities?
A long time ago, an acquaintance advised me to make a personal savings account a priority. At the time, she was going through a divorce. Her oldest daughter was our beloved babysitter, her youngest was in my daughter's Brownie Troop, and the whole family belonged to our small town church. I had often thought her husband was a little high on his horse, but figured "oh well, to each his own". Yet while we were preparing the Troop's snack one afternoon, she gave me a tiny glimpse into her life, and told me how long she had been saving so that she could leave. On an elementary school teacher's salary, it had been a long time. At that stage of my life, I had smugly thought "oh, I'll never have to worry about that..."
It is with amazement that I reflect on the past fifteen years and the trials and tribulations they held for my husband and me. The fact that we have emerged from that time warp intact, does not at all imply unscathed. While we have such good fortune (along with the painfully acquired skill of tongue-biting) to still be together, so many friends of mine have fared with less fortune. It is their experiences,the anecdotes of so many like them, and the realization that I too, could find myself in those shoes, that motivates me to insist on some solutions.
Recently I met a particularly admirable woman- a realtor- who, having gone through her own divorce, had an intimate understanding of the challenges that so many of her clients were facing as they navigated their own divorces, or in many cases early widowhood. The Wildflower Group was created by Joan Rogliano to help women in transition. The Wildflower Women's Foundation is the only program that specifically matches women of all ages with a referral network which empowers and guides women to make life-affirming decisions about major financial, career, self-care, family and housing issues following divorce and widowhood.
Wow. This is a good idea. And it's free.
Now what we need are some other forward-thinking women with expertise to offer who self-congregate for the greater good of sisters everywhere. First stop...women lawyers for women. If you are one and are interested in working with others ... let me know and I will be sure to create a connection! Just think of the possibilities...