By Kathy Koches
“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
Yesterday I got an e-mail from my eldest granddaughter. She gave me news that was both sad and encouraging. She had left her abusive husband, after seven years of marriage. How difficult this had to be for her with three small children, ages 7 yrs., 4 yrs. and 2 yrs. to support and raise. What could I say to her that would help in even a small way? “Be strong,” I told her, “and more than that, you ARE strong! You come from a long line of strong women, and you will survive and get through this.”
I related to her the stories of some of the women in our family. I told her of my grandmother, her great, great grandmother, who had watched the covered wagons roll by across her farm in Texas, whose husband had died while saving a child from drowning in a frozen lake, leaving her with a 1 yr. old baby to raise alone, and who had made her way to California, creating a wonderful life for herself and her daughter. I told her again my story, and how her grandmother, who lost both of her parents when she was 15, had survived an abusive marriage and escaped to make a better life for herself and her children. I reminded her who it was that rescued her from a horrible situation to give her a chance at life.
I spoke about her aunt, who persevered through many hardships to become a successful career woman and who raised three children of her own. She listened in silence, taking in all I had said. Then she thanked me for reminding her of her own strength and that of the women who had come before her. It won’t be easy, and there will be many hardships for her to endure, but I know that she will dig deep and find the strength to carry on, making a better life for herself and her children. And she will teach her daughter to be strong and stay strong.