Everyday, Ordinary Women


As I write the story about Women’s History Month, it got me thinking about the women in my life who have inspired me. They weren’t famous – not a movie star or politician – I’ve been inspired most by everyday, ordinary women.

Of course, I have to say that it was my mother who first inspired me – and I didn’t realize it until much later in my life. She was a strong woman who pushed me to be my own person, to be independent and not follow the status quo. She taught me to follow my dreams and pursue a career or hobby that I love. She taught me by example: pay your bills first, and follow through with what you say you are going to do. She taught me that family is always first, to work hard and play hard, and live life to the fullest.

I don’t remember, or may not have known the names of some of the other women who inspired me. I remember vividly the nurse who was there during the difficult birth of my daughter. When I couldn’t do what the doctor said I had to do, she grabbed my hands and said, “Yes, you can!” She looked me square in the eyes and helped me through the ordeal. I owe her an endless “thank you.” She taught me compassion.

My daughter has inspired me – having grown to be a beautiful woman with a heart of gold, and such a good mother to my grandchildren. She has taught me unconditional love.

To me, the bravest women I know are those who suffered with an addiction and overcame it, got back on their feet and are leading successful, happy lives. I was inspired by a woman I know who had the courage to walk away from an abusive spouse and begin a new life. These women taught me about perseverance.

I have also been inspired by many of my women friends. They have taught me about loyalty, how to laugh, and how to have fun.

I think the woman who has inspired me most, however, was my friend, Darlene, who lost a long and difficult battle with cancer. I was her caretaker for some time, and she handled her illness and the treatment of her disease with dignity and grace. She continued going to school to earn her bachelor’s degree. Even though she was sick, she fought, kept her sense of humor, and spent the final months of her life (as best she could) living it to the fullest. She once told me: “Cheryl, it’s funny; but going the process of facing the possibility of death, I have learned how to live – really live.” She was an inspiration to many, many people. She taught me about courage.

Yes, these are some everyday, ordinary women who have inspired me – and shown me how to live an extraordinary life. Perhaps they are not so ordinary, after all!


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