When Women Gather

The Bond Between Sisters

Day 259

We are in our third day of heavy rain which will stretch into tomorrow. Today I will make the 2-hour drive to my son’s house to help my daughter-in-law and care for my grandchildren while my son is out of town.

So far this year we have had over 39 inches of rain — 1.44 inches today alone. (According to the U.S. climate website, our average annual rainfall is just over 61 inches a year. Last year we had almost 90 inches of rainfall due to some hurricane-related weather.) It’s no wonder my mind is floating…

In the midst of this rain-soaked weekend, my mind is drifting to a wonderful opportunity that has presented itself. I have been invited to a women’s meditative retreat in October in the midst of fall color in New England. My body relaxes just thinking about it.

My sisters and I were able to retreat to Blue Ridge, GA for 3 years before each of them passed. We rented a cabin tucked away in the mountains and spent a week together. We packed our bags, left our families and troubles at home and trekked to spend a week together as sisters. It was the most fun, restorative and healing time. We rarely had cell service, so we had plenty of time to work through old disagreements and just be.

We bonded and shared things that had never seen the light of day. We decided this: What happens in the mountains, stays in the mountains. I wrote a little about this in an old blog post — Relationships, Sisters, and the Value of Macaroni Salad.

The fall retreat in New England will bring together a small group of like-minded women to gather, share and heal together. We all have a common thread, but our backgrounds and experiences are rather diverse. The thought of this trip has already become a place of respite for me.

Yesterday, my daughter and her wife called to see if I would be willing to consider going to a cabin early next year — a mother/daughter trip. Two moms, two daughters and our shared granddaughter for a week in the mountains. It was a hell yes for me. I know the strength of women coming together.

So while right now, it may be raining hard here, I have many beautiful days to look forward to. Times of healing and communion. Times of shared experiences and new relationships. It is harder and harder to find these quiet and reflective times in our busy world. I have learned if they do not exist, we have the power to make them happen.

My husband has always been and will always be supportive of all my dreams and does not feel threatened by any of it. He knows I always return a better version of myself.

“We’re connected, as women. It’s like a spiderweb. If one part of that web vibrates,
if there’s trouble, we all know it,
but most of the time we’re just too scared,
or selfish, or insecure to help. But if we don’t help each other, who will?”
Sarah Addison Allen,
The Peach Keeper


26 thoughts on “When Women Gather”

  1. That sounds like a great thing to do. I am certain that women react very differently to most men in such situations. I am sure that I would get drunk, and complain about everything! Then again, I have no children or siblings to do it with, so would have to rely on friends or cousins.
    The rain stopped here last night. I hope that your rain stops soon too, Maggie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete, I believe that there is, among a number of books, one called Iron John, and I cannot think of who it is by for the life of me. But it explains how men are brought up – “Big boys don’t cry.” “Oh, be a man and get the job done.” So men are never encouraged to bring out their feelings, and you have probably witnessed men standing face to face, toe to toe and yelling at each other. It is the only seemingly acceptable emotion for men to have – anger or frustration. It is truly sad, for men DO have emotions, but seldom, if ever get an opportunity to just share those wonderful moments. I hope someday you can find a safe group of men who are not afraid to share their sorrows, their pains, and who they really are and what disappointments they have had in their lives, as well as the happiest times. I know there are groups like that somewhere, and perhaps you can hook up with one of them. You don’t need to be with relatives. Maggie is lucky to have sisters, etc., but I don’t have them either. I think learning to be ok with our emotions and to get them out there safely without fear of judgement or bullying, etc. is the best thing any of us can do whether we are male or female. In the end result, the emotions of anger, sorrow, joy, pain, etc. are not really so different. I think you are off to a great start saying it like it is for you right now. Remember that it doesn’t have to always be that way. There are a lot of good folks out there who would be glad to share with you. You just have to find them, and the search is worth it. You are a good person, and you deserve to be happy every single day, or to be real for every single emotion you have. Despite what we were taught in so many ways (even some of us gals), our emotions are our friends, not our enemies. Take care and know that we care. Anne always

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    2. Pete, the first year my sisters and I got together there was a lot of angst – piss and vinegar my grandmother would say. We each carried a lot from our childhood and years of ups and downs so that first week was all about getting on the same page. Sometimes when people think of healing, they think it is all “kum ba yah” but it is not always that way. There may have been some slamming doors and tears along the way – the gunk in the engine. For us, it was worth it. (and there may have been wine coolers or some such thing, too.)

      I can’t say how men might handle such a gathering, but it might be healthy to give it a shot. I was lucky to have my sisters take these trips. We tried to get our brother to come along, but he would have no part of being isolated in the mountains with the three of us! I think it would have been good for him, too, but maybe he needed like-minded men to share with.

      The rain has slowed down. More tomorrow, then I hope it will be dry for a few days. Glad you got a break.

      Take care, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I live in quite a female-dominated society currently. My wife, her twin daughters, and some of her female friends. It is often quite difficult for me to relate to men since I moved from London. They talk about things like football, home improvements, fishing, and golf. They appear to be uncomfortable if confronted about their political views, and their lives tend to revolve around a ‘family unit’.
        I come from a very different starting place, so mark myself out almost immediately as someone to avoid. 🙂
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is interesting. When someone comes from a different place of origin or point of view, I find them the most interesting to be around. My husband also lives in a very female-dominated environment as well. Well, dominated is not the right word, perhaps influenced is better for us.

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  2. Oh Maggie – such specialness.

    The photo only revealed two sets of barefeet to go along with the three hands…but then I notice dorky stuff like that. I’m envious of your shared past with sisters (even if I know it’s hard for you that they are no longer here on earth)

    I know the tradition continues as you plan to meet for a mother/daughter cabin trip (whenever).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laura.

      I was taking the photo (35mm) and I was trying to hold it in one hand while trying to get my other hand in the picture as well. Besides, I don’t think I had a nice pedicure that year!

      Yes, the tradition carries on – with family and with new friends. It’s a blessing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like many women, I did not have relatives with whom to share and did not grow up in an era where women were encouraged to be who they truly want to be. I remember as a young gal in high school, I had an opportunity to choose the college route or regular, and my mother told me that girls did not go to college, and that the proper thing to do was to find a man and get married and have children and that he would take care of me. How naive women were in those days, or how programmed to have no minds or emotions or goals and dreams.

    Well, it was a long journey with many tears and fears along the way, and when I finally got out of a bad marriage, and on my own, it was very difficult because I had not been taught that I was a full human being and deserved to have my own career(s), my own goals and dreams, and to live life the way I thought perhaps best. And if any of those things didn’t work out just the way I imagined, I had the right to choose something else, to mourn if I needed to and to move on. So many of us grow up with our parents or grandparents, or others inside us, and no real voice of our own. Congratulations, Maggie, for a successful journey into the feminine with your sisters and relatives. I just finished one book called Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself by Judy Duerk, and she has another one that follows that. I am not sure she is still living, but what a wonderful book for the woman (and even the men could read it and enjoy it). I am glad for you that you got to do this. It is so health and life enhancing. Thank you for always writing such great posts in the everyday realm because this is who we are all are in the compass of our souls.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anne, hopefully, we will grow from generation to generation. My grandmother and mother were the “you made your bed now lie in it” school of thought. One of the reasons women did not reach out for help when they needed it.

      I know I am blessed to have such opportunities afforded to me. I only wish all women and men had the same opportunity.

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      1. We do but we have to work hard for it and we have to be truly competitive to keep it. I am not a competitive person and never will be, but I did work hard and treated all my clients when I had freelance work or my own businesses like they truly mattered and they did. So I did well for that time and it is something that we all can do if we use our ingenuity and find something that works for others that we can provide. It is not easy but if we want it enough, we can have it. Yes, I know it seems like we are often at a disadvantage and perhaps we are in some ways. It is not the same as it once was and in some ways that is good and in others it shows how competitive the market is today with so many people coming looking for work and the good life so to speak.
        Thank you kindly.


  4. Maggie…..oh how wonderful that retreat sounds! I know it will be a life changing experience.
    I said, hell yes to the cabin too. We have surely been talking about this for a long time and now we will have our beautiful baby girl to share this great experience! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful! I don’t have a sister, but I can fathom it’s a very special friendship, and I looooove when I’m with my women friends. We absolutely find fortification of the soul in sisterhood.

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