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Post 34 Strong Women

This past Sunday my church, St. Peter’s UCC in Okawville, IL celebrated our Women of the Church banquet.  Years ago, it was called the Mother-Daughter banquet.  It changed because it was realized that many women didn’t have daughters, many women didn’t have their mother’s any longer, but all women have those that are special and loved in their life.

An important element, almost as critical as the potluck delicacies, is the entertainment – nothing paid for or professional, mind you, just something fun.  Some years it’s a skit performed by the members.  This year we had a Kitchen Band – St. Peter’s Kitchenettes – and I got to “perform” in the band…on my big yellow soup pot with a wooden spoon.  It brought out that inner drummer that lives in me, from my grade school snare drummer days.  One more thing off the bucket list – a kitchen band performance.

As I looked out at the crowd at the Women of the Church banquet, I felt so blessed – seeing the faces of such strong women in the audience.  Women who I know, like me, have had loss in their lives.  Loss of their husbands, for some, decades ago.  Loss of mothers and children and sisters and friends.  Their hearts have all been broken at different times in their lives, yet their faces smile up at me.

In reflecting on that night, I first thought the common denominator among those strong women was resilience.  You know, that capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  Toughness.  But then I thought, no, some of these women may not have recovered quickly, some may have taken years to be able to smile again.  Some may still be hiding their sadness behind their smile.  I’ve learned that we all journey through grief in our own way, on our own timetable.

No, I don’t think resilience is it.  Perhaps it’s community – the belief that those in our region will support them through hardship, be there for them.  Most have family nearby and/or friends in our little community that helps care for each other.

Perhaps it is spirituality that allows them to smile.  That inner peace that comes from knowing in your heart that your faith will always be there for you – to provide a level of solace in the face of death, sadness and grief.

Maybe it is hope, that feeling of trust that better times are ahead.   Or knowing they are loved – by those they’ve lost and those still here with them.

After thinking about this all week, I concluded, that maybe they were just smiling at the band members with our silly hats and me with that big yellow pot.  HA!  Well, we know that laughter is healing when grieving, too.  But seriously, I think it’s the combination of all these things and more that strong women hold in their hearts that help them smile.

I hope this Mother’s Day you have enjoyed, celebrated and thanked the strong women in your life. I wish you, dear reader, all of these things – community, spirituality, hope, love and laughter.   And a little resilience, too.  And, maybe a few beats on your own pot drum.

If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email

Be blessed,


Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

“We Grow Stronger Together”


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