I hope my title intrigued you. The term – which I made up – means The Ya Ya Sisterhood Meets The Big Chill (and, believe me, I wasn’t about to call that the Big Sisterhood). I have just had a once-in-a-lifetime, wonderful yet difficult, weekend that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. My book club had a sleep-over. We talked non-stop (as usual), we laughed, we ate, we played games, we ate some more, and we cried at the end.
We’re quite a mixture of women and each of the ten of us is unique. We are made up of wives, ex-wives, and girlfriends. Most are mothers, some are stepmothers or grandmothers. We are Jewish, evangelical Christian, and disillusioned with church. Some work, some don’t, some used to. Some are GRITS (girls raised in the South) and some are transplants.
We have three things in common. We are female. We’re all in the same decade of life. (I won’t say what that is, but we are fabulous.) And we all have a finite number of days on this planet.
And there is one striking difference. One of us knows that her number is drawing to a close very soon.
That’s why we had this sleepover. We descended on the house of our group member who is in hospice care – having conceded loss to a six-year valiant battle with cancer. We celebrated her life and fulfilled one of her last requests, checking off an item on her bucket list. I felt humbled to know that my friend values me enough to want to spend some of her fleeting days with me.
I stumbled into this group when I’d only lived in my town for one month. The local library was hosting an Author’s Luncheon at the Community House. I went, alone, and happened to sit at a table with four of these fabulous women. We hit it off so well that they invited me to join the Not Just Another Book Club. I was naïve enough at that time to Southern rules to miss the significance of being welcomed into an existing group so soon. As I heard people marvel that I’d managed to “break in” so quickly, I started to get it.
Somehow, I don’t think it was a coincidence. I think it was part of God’s plan for me in North Carolina.
Our weekend together was a precious memory I’ll cherish forever. After only sleeping a few short hours, we gathered up all our breakfast food, threw on sneakers with our pajamas, and invaded the home of another of our group – one who couldn’t sleep over because of recent surgery. (I would’ve posted photos of the pajama bit but we all took an oath to never put them on the worldwide web. That’s why the photo above is of girls a bit younger than us.)
We got to encourage two women in one weekend. But somehow I think we all benefitted.
That morning, we put a serious ending on our frivolity and prayed for our dying friend. Then we told her what we appreciate most about her. And she gave us her words of wisdom: to make the most of every single day. Because not one of us knows how many we’ll have.