Within moments of John telling me that he was leaving our marriage, I texted a friend:
John is leaving me. In despair. Can I come over?
I remember almost nothing of that night except that I had a shoulder to cry on and a friend who listened and offered every imaginable support, while serving me cup after cup of hot herbal tea. In the days that followed, as I explained my situation to other close friends, a tight net of support emerged around me. The support often came from tangential relationships, such as the woman who came over to explain California divorce to me. She’d never been to my home and we’d only met once before–but she was freshly divorced herself and knew she had information that I would need. She stayed for hours and listened as much as she shared.
Then there was the group of friends who live far away, who daily sent me snail-mail letters and care packages. These sweet notes arrived both in Pasadena and Irvine–they covered all the bases because they knew I was flitting between two homes during the month of December. They were envelopes filed with color and poetry and care. Reminders that I was loved and important and strong. My Exponent sisters sent the softest-ever blanket with a giraffe-fabric pattern–as a reminder that giraffes are matriarchal creatures and they take care of their own. That blanket went back-and-forth with me wherever I slept during December and is still folded into a rectangle at the foot of my bed.
Now, as I find myself trying to forge a path forward with this new life of mine, I continue to be influenced by the stories of friends who have followed similar trajectories. Using the imagery of my blogtitle, I consider myself a fellow pilgrim with these women. Some of them have traveled on ahead of me and can offer a map of where they’ve been. Others are traveling alongside me, or are journeying on a similar, but separate, route.
Recently I wrote to several of these women and asked them to share their wisdom on my blog. Because I feel as though we can all benefit from hearing their stories. We have so much to learn from each other and we have so much support to offer those who are in the midst of their own difficult paths. Thus, I’ll be posting the writings of many of these women as Guest Posts on Pilgrimsteps over the next few weeks, under the title of “Traveler’s Tales.” If you have a story or some thoughts that you would like to share for this feature, please send them to janaremyATgmail.