I attended the funeral of my teacher, colleague, and friend yesterday. While it was a somber occasion, honoring a life snuffed out too soon, I couldn't help but smile during the service. Ironic, since smiling isn't really my thing (or so I've been told). Looking around the church, I saw the familiar faces of all the ladies who were colleagues of mine when I first started teaching. These same ladies quickly grew to mean so much more to me than just faces in other classrooms. They became my friends. Never mind the fact that many of these women, now retired, are old enough to be my mom. Age and different generations just don't matter when you support and genuinely care for each other.

Sitting in the church, yesterday, I was reminded about how important relationships are in this life. Each of these women have helped shape who I am as a teacher, wife, mother, and friend. And I believe I've done the same for them. We support each other no matter the circumstance. We know we can lean on each other during the struggles and we can celebrate each other during the triumphs. This is what it means to be a woman.

It is so disheartening to see females tear each other down. I see girls in my school doing it to each other all the time. We see it in the media and pop culture. Instead of feeling threatened by the success of our fellow females, why don't we cheer each other on, lift each other up, and see our own success in each other?

I can't deny that another significant reason for my emotional response to seeing these ladies is because all of them were also friends of my mom. Being around her friends heightens the feeling that she is still here with me. When they reminisce about something my mom said or how she approached a certain situation, my heart beats faster, realizing she is missed... She is not forgotten

I am so grateful for the relationships I have with this group of women. As I sat at the service for our friend, I realized that I need to tell each of these ladies what they have meant and continue to mean to me. We are not promised tomorrow.

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