In the midst of reviewing seed grant applications for the Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls initiative, my survivor friend and sister in Christ died. She battled breast cancer for almost six years and was a real warrior to the end.
She was a health care provider, and many of her co-workers came by her room over the last days she spent in the hospital, bearing witness to how over those six years, whether she was in remission or in treatment, she encouraged other cancer patients to take control of their lives—all while caring for her family, doing ministry and working until the end. She left two girls, ages 13 and 9.
My aunt died a week before my friend, and I think about her often and how my cousin Judy is getting along. She and her mom had a special bond.
It’s that bond that makes me wonder, how are these two young ones, really?
I know how my adult women friends have struggled to get through those first weeks and month without their moms. How does the village of women step in and be there for these young girls to see to more than just their physical needs? Sure, they have their dad, but what about those things that only mom can fix or understand?
Have we really prepared ourselves as a community to raise up girls when a woman can no longer carry on?
I have said many times that I will be there for the girls in my life, and I meant it. But I have always seen myself in a supporting role to their parents.
How to I make good on my promise? Has anyone been in this place? Any words of wisdom?
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship at Women of the ELCA.