Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Government can feel predominantly male, but my small town is mostly run by energetic older women. I imagine it's like that in a lot of places. There are one or two token guys, but the ones who get things done - and the institutional memory - are usually a core group of women from 50 to 75.

In less than a month, my town has lost three of these women, and it's sad and disorienting at the same time.

The first was in early June. I met her shortly after we moved here in 2018, and even at that time she'd been undergoing cancer treatment for a long stretch. Everyone knew she was sick; everyone was surprised when she died because she just been on Facebook the day before, posting political snark, and she'd only retired as the head of the library committee the week before. Her visitation, at the local Catholic church, had a line around the block.

The second, just over a week ago, was the past president of our local animal rescue. She'd been involved in one community organization after another her entire life, and only retired when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her death happened swiftly too; she had a birthday party only days before.

Monday morning, I learned that another woman, also associated with the animal rescue - and the one who gave us Rufus - passed away completely unexpectedly yesterday. She was their busiest foster, and in charge of a lot of the admin tasks for the group, so she leaves a big hole. She also had cats of her own, and a half dozen foster kitties, all of which now have to be rehomed.

The town isn't going to be the same without these three women, and a lot of us are going to have to step up in small ways to start taking their places. You can't sit back and admire that group without realizing someday you're going to have to be one of them.

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