A Letter to the Women Who Saved Me
In March of this year I moved back to Houston, a city I haven't called home since high school. The move was something I never really planned on or thought would happen, but it has been such a blessing in ways I never saw coming. The biggest blessing of all came in the form of the 10 women from the Shops Off Westheimer, a co-op type of space where 8 of us own and run our own independent businesses under the same roof. I say 10 women because three of them are our "subs" and are a frequent, smiling face around the shops.
Each woman's unique personality is bigger than life. Our antics at the shop combined with our unique stories are worthy of a Hollywood film. We are your modern day Steel Magnolias. These women took me in and revived the life back into my bones. I wrote them this letter below and gave it to them last night at our annual (and my first) Shops Off Westheimer Christmas dinner:
December 17, 2017
A Letter to the Women Who Saved Me:
Alex, Katie, Terry, Nancy Go, Claudia, Carol, Kingslea (Bobbie, Nancy Gu and Nancy Y),
You were strangers in February and you are family now. You saved me.
My heart has been broken, well frankly it feels like my soul has been broken, since we lost Jimmy last November and I moved back home to Houston. I was fearful about the transition back and the future of my business. Meeting you all, working with you, and spending every Thursday with you, Katie, saved me, and you probably didn't even know it. Being one of the women at the Shops Off Westheimer gave me two things that I so desperately needed, structure for my days and my weeks, but most importantly, love.
Thank you for your kindness, for your hugs, for cheering me on as I left town to attend events in memory of my brother, for clipping newspaper articles, Terry, and telling me about seeing our stories on the news, Claudia, to saying his name often and out loud, Nancy. To subbing for me at the last minute, when you were tending to your flooded homes, family and grandchildren, but happily stepped up to help.
Alex, you brought me into this family, and you changed my life for the better. Thank you for your love, your relentless support, for being a shoulder to cry on, for being my greatest cheerleader, all the while you were beating cancer's ass and were heart broken for losing dear Christopher. They don't come any better than you.
I survived my first year without Jimmy because of your love, kindness and presence. I thank God everyday that there was an opening at the Shops Off Westheimer. You all have become my family and I love you dearly. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
The crazy thing about it all is that this could possibly be one of the last years we are all here together at the shops, in this capacity, as some shop owners will likely retire in the next year or two and a change in the building's lease is upon us. In the 30+ years these women have been together, there was somehow space for me to be a part of this rare, special sisterhood.
Each of these women, both independently and together, saved me, and they didn't even know it. Through our everyday, mundane interactions they helped bandage my wounds and bring me back to life.
I hope you have a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas.