Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Ron at
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Ron Cruger
Women of courage
2007 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
          We see them in business, in malls, in our supermarkets. They are our sisters, mothers, aunts and friends. We work side by side with them. They don’t complain, but in their quiet ways they are the heroines of our times. They suffer through the tragedies of their lives and without fanfare or attention show us what bravery and strength are about. Many of them we see every day and never give a thought to what the misfortunes of life have brought them. And we think even less of how these remarkable women cope with the pains and the wounds that adversity brings them. These are the unsung among us. 
          One of these remarkable women joined my wife and I for dinner last week. She brought a stunningly beautiful bouquet of tulips to her hosts. She’s 51 years old. She was married, now divorced. She’s pretty. She doesn’t date because she hasn’t found a man that she feels comfortable with. She has a primary role in caring for her 75 year old mother. She has two sisters with whom she is “buddy-close.” She loves animals. Her dog is the love of her current life. 
          She works at a bank, offering warm and personal attention to her customers. She wants to lose some weight. She lives in an older home, made cozy comfortable thanks to her warm and talented designing eye. She loves to make those around her comfortable and happy. Her smile offers a friendly glow to anyone near. 
          Her sister, 5 years older than her, was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. The sister is fortunate. Doctors have told her she’s now cancer free. 
          Three years ago our friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. The blow of the diagnosis almost knocked her off her feet. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The chemotherapy took her hair and weakened her. She survived and fought back against the terrible disease. She examines herself and goes to the doctor for regular check ups. 
          It’s been 3 years since the diagnosis. The doctors say she is cancer free, so she feels like she’s earned a second life to live. 
           This summer she’s going to Paris with some friends. 
           She’s looking forward to retiring at age 55. Her dream is to retire and find a nice job in a bookstore. She loves books. She loves to read. 
           She wants to enjoy every minute of her life. You can tell she loves being with people. She’s charming and cute. She could teach a class on how to overcome cancer, to beat it, gain a great attitude and move on with your life. She dreams of that nice job in that charming bookstore. She’ll be there in less than 4 years. She doesn’t consider herself brave. She says she’s just coping with what life dealt her. 
           Our other heroine is my wife’s good friend’s mother. She’s 86 years old. She’s attractive and charming. She has a great sense of humor. She loves cookies and ice cream. Her fridge holds 3 different flavors of ice cream. 
           She can’t walk more than a step or two now. She spends most of her days in a wheel chair, but she does fine, getting around her comfortable apartment. 
           She’s given birth to 5 children. Her first born son died in the 1970’s. When he died a piece of her heart died, never to heal. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. 
           Her husband died last year. They had been married 62 years. They were more than husband and wife. They were each other’s best friend. They liked each other. They liked being with each other. There is a large painting of her husband on the wall in her den. She passes his image a dozen times every day and each time, without fail, she spends a few moments in front of her best friend. She says a few words to him and thinks about what he would say in return. She hears him. 
           The only thing she watches on television is the news, CNN and Fox. She thinks most things on television stink. She does crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp and then turns to her computer and plays electronic solitaire. 
           She adores her cat Holly, who follows her around her home day and night. 
She remembers when she was a child and her parents had to sell their family home because of the Great Depression in 1929. She said, “It was a difficult time for my family. We didn’t have very much for many years.” 
           Her favorite president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “He took over the country and got us out of the Depression that Herbert Hoover caused.” 
           When asked about the current state of affairs, she says, “I think President Bush is a tad slow, you know, not too bright.” She doesn’t think we should just pull out of Iraq. “It would make the United States look terrible, but I don’t know what we should do to get us out of this mess that Bush got us into.” 
           “People are ruder, everything moves faster now. She says people now are only interested in money.” She thinks this is a difficult time to live in. 
           A few days ago one of her children took her for a tour of a local “assisted living facility.” She calls it an “old age home.” She says she’s not going to live in an “old age home.” Can’t stand them. She doesn’t understand them. She says, “The women get their hair done to go to lunch!” 
           She said so many of the old people looked unhappy. “I don’t get along too well with older people,” she says. 
           She wants to live in her own home and have her own privacy. She doesn’t think like an 86 year old woman. 
           Just two women coping with life. It’s the men who are called heroes and get the medals, but alongside them are the women with the strength of steel, able to overcome life’s heartaches. 
           I’m privileged to know them.