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July is the month that Susan left us. It has been a difficult month for my daughter for many years now. The infernal Louisiana swamp heat doesn’t help ease suffering. In spite of the difficulties inherent to July, the annual boat parade on our lake lifts our spirits, especially so because Granddaughter delights in it. Usually.

But not this year. Cruelty is not limited to a loved one’s death or ungodly heat. Cruelty comes in many forms, often nicely packaged and disguised as kindness or love.

Jennifer Worth’s memoir televised by Heidi Thomas in Call the Midwife shines a spotlight on the harsh reality that is womanhood. Pain inflicted on women – on grandmothers, mothers, daughters, children. Despair caused because someone else was stronger, more powerful, richer, or spiteful, hateful, bitter, narcissistic, egomaniacal.

She said,

Who said? Jennifer Worth? Heidi Thomas? The voiceless little girl? The invisible indigent woman? The emotionally abused girlfriend? The physically abused wife? The raped? Grandmothers? Mothers? All of the above?

We say,

“There are nights so dark that the dawn is not merely distant, but beyond imagination. These are the hours where grief lives. Where fear rules. Where truth lies exposed like a wound. Hope hides. Peace is for others. Minutes extend, repeating the stress of the hours that went before. Thoughts begin and end in silence.”

We are women. Even if we are not homogeneous. Shame on women who steal from other women. Shame on women for closing our eyes to the plight that has been thrust upon us by the most unscrupulous of men.