My first thought when I saw this topic was how lucky I am to have so many amazing women in my life to choose to write about, but I knew deep in my heart this could truly only be about one.
I was a nanny for many years and considered it a great honour that people would choose me to help raise and love their children and I’m sure many parents and nannies out there would understand this, but I doubt so many can say they formed one of the most treasure and precious relationships and friendships in this way.
I met Jo when she was a cute, feisty, chatty eighteen-month-old toddler and I MEAN chatty. I remember her talking for hours seemingly without needing to draw breath. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with her.
That was over 30 years ago. Jo is now a wonderful Mother to her own two children who loves them fiercely while allowing them to truly be who they are while working tirelessly for a charitable organisation that helps young Jewish women overcome their own challenges.
Over the years I have watched that adorable little girl I once knew face more challenges than anyone else I know without ever giving up, blaming others or losing her ability to love or losing the endless compassion she has for all.
I watched as she struggled through her parent’s divorce, abusive boyfriends, an eating disorder, addiction, the loss of friends she’d grown up with and a failed first marriage to a man who simply didn’t deserve her and never did.
I watched as she endured the heartbreak of that relationship ending and grieved the loss of the child, she fought so hard to fall pregnant with and went through the process of IVF and the toll that took on her physical and mentally.
Throughout all of this I watched in awe of how resilient she was. How she continued to work for charities, how she constantly did everything possible to raise awareness of prejudice, anti -Semitism, supporting single Mother’s and the LGBTQ community.
Most of all what I saw was how she continued to grow, blossom and become a woman I am not just proud to know but honoured to call a friend. Jo is so much more than any label I can use to describe her. At various stages of our lives, she has been the surrogate little sister I longed for, my inspiration and my confident.
We have both faced many challenges and changed so much over the years. We both dabbled in sex, drugs, and rock n roll and we both found our true selves through religion and spirituality although not at the same time. Our bond and friendship have never wavered. Jo has always had my back. She has loved me supported me and most of all believed in me when I didn’t know how.
When I was battling depression and living in a homeless shelter after a failed suicide attempt it was this gorgeous young woman who would come to visit and bring me food, books and love. It’s not easy to love and understand someone who’s depressed and filled with self- loathing. It’s even more difficult to forgive someone you really love who tries to kill themselves but somehow, she did all of this without hesitation.
One of my greatest joys in the past few years has been watching Jo meet and fall in love with her soulmate. A man who truly and absolutely loves her, accepts her and values her. Seeing her witness her dream of having her own children has filled my heart with such joy and lightness it is almost impossible for me to describe.
More recently Jo has often bestowed upon me the privilege of giving her energy healing. It is a recent session that will stay with me for lifetimes and ensured when it came to thinking of a woman who inspires me and uplifts me it could only be Jo. Newly pregnant and having trouble she came to me for healing. I’m an incredibly gifted healer. I have no doubts about my ability, and I love Jo more than just about anyone I know. As the session progressed, I could clearly see and feel that all was well. I assured her of this and awaited good news.
A few days later when I learned she was being admitted to hospital to deliver her baby girl who hadn’t survived I was devastated. I KNOW how this sounds. Jo was losing her baby and I was devastated. I have never ‘failed’ to heal anyone before. The knowledge that I had promised this woman who I have loved (and for many years protected and cared for like a Mother) that all would be well ripped me apart. I felt like the biggest fraud and the biggest failure. I felt I would never be able to forgive myself for letting her down. For failing her when she needed me most. The thought that I might lose her love and friendship was unbearable.
Of course, I did her a great dishonour in even thinking this. Was she angry with me? Did she stop trusting me? Did she banish me from her life? NO. She told me to trust that everything happens for a reason and that maybe I had been shown another- future- baby of hers. She even told me she was sorry that I was so upset and that she understood it was because we are so close and connected that I was feeling what she was feeling.
No matter what happens, I only have to think of Jo, and I am inspired and reminded that we can all do ANYTHING and that we can choose to do it with love, grace and compassion. I asked her permission to write about her and her response “It would be an honour and you inspire me so so much too”.
What else would you expect? Thank you for being part of my life and allowing me to be part of yours for so long and of course thank you Eve for allowing me to love your daughter for a lifetime with grace and without envy.