My friend Deedy is the gentleperson who visits old souls in nursing homes. She sends flowers for no particular reason, writes cards to simply say “Thinking of you!”, calls regularly just to chat and reminisce. Now in her 80s, she has a driver take her on her rounds, otherwise she hasn’t slowed much in her efforts. She’s a champion conversationalist, a goodwill ambassador, a messenger of cheer, an angel on Earth.
Long ago she recognized that friends were slowly dying of loneliness because their own extended families were too busy with jobs, children, and other important responsibilities to tend to their elders, so Deedy picked up the slack. She doesn’t do any of this because she expects anything in return, but because she has a good heart. And she’s able to do this with such vigor because she is not married and doesn’t have children of her own. Ironic, isn’t it?
I’m often asked who my childfree role models were. To be honest, it wasn’t until last year, when we did the series on cheros (heros who happen to be childfree), that was I able to I think of any. For some women it’s an inspiring aunt, teacher, or boss. I can’t recall one childfree woman who was part of my growing-up years. Then there was Deedy, who came along in my late 30s, just as I needed someone to shine a light and show me a different path. Deedy is my personal chero. I hope I have learned well from her, for I intend on following her example and becoming a chero to others.
Look around you and share with us: Who is your personal chero?
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.
WOW!!! That’s really awesome. She’s indeed an angel on earth. 🙂 I salute her with all my heart. *bow*
My childless role model is my aunt rose. She was like a grandmother to me. She loved me unconditionally and treated me they way a mother should treat her children. She was a blessing in my life when my mother was not there for me because of medical and psychological problems. I try to be the same way with my nieces and nephews. Also my next door neighbor Dorothy had a. Great impact as well. She could hear the screaming and fighting in our home and would invite me in whenever she saw me running out. She was a career woman who was widowed and lived alone. A lot of the ways I live my life now I saw in them.
Rainbow Brite says
I didn’t have any childfree role models growing up, nor do I have any now. But I intend to start looking for some 🙂 And to hopefully be that for others..
I have two aunts who did not have children. I was/am much closer to them than to my other relatives with kids because they were much more involved in my life. They were/are my second moms, sometimes I could confide in them more than I could with my own mother. We never talked about their “childless” status. I never got the sense that it bothered them, at least they never shared that with me and never lamented over it. One of my aunts passed away a few years ago at 91. She was one of the people who encouraged me to go back to school for my PhD. My other aunt is 84 and (knock on wood) is in great shape. She emails, reads her news online, loves to read, knits, went white water rafting and horse back riding this summer with my brother and his family. She spent a month with me a few years ago when I lived in England. We traveled around together, including a weekend trip to Paris. They have always been very involved with family and very much a part of my daily life.