My mom is talking in her sleep, a woman across the hall screams periodically in Russian, and someone has been coughing vigorously for hours, so it's no wonder I can't sleep. Plus, even though I sneaked the sheets and pillowcase off and washed them, they still smell like rehab. (My mom has no roommate so I've been sleeping in the next bed.)
Anyway, in my awakeitude I've been thinking about my mom's girlfriends Edie, Alva and Flo.
My dad and Edie's husband Jack were boyhood friends, so my mom and Edie (now widows) have been pals since they were brides.
Alva and my mom met a little later, sang in Yiddish choruses together I think, had mutual friends, some of whom have since lost their marbles or died.
Flossie and my mom go back forever, Flossie's mom and my mom's mom were friends.
I've never not known these women.
There were other close women friends and cousins, Selma, Rusty, Bea, Lorraine, Ethel... but they are gone. And my mom has newer friends, made since I've lived away.
But it's Edie, Alva and Flossie who are on my mind tonight as I think about how hard it must be for each of them to make themselves get in the car and drive here. There are always so many other things clamoring for their time and attention. Finding reasons not to visit would be so easy & no one would fault them if they gave it a miss. They too are older women with aches and pains and fears and limited energy.
It can't be easy for them to see their friend so altered and how could they not imagine themselves in her position?
It must be both heartbreaking and terrifying.
And yet, they come.
They don't do it to impress anyone, or out of guilt.
They've each been through their share of tragedy so the novelty of anguish has long since worn off.
The three aren't particular friends of each others so don't come together for support. They each come often. And they come alone.
Girlfriends: brave, beautiful, loyal, remarkable, wise, kind, funny and profound.
My mother and I are lucky to know them.