A 1/4 Mile Left To Go

woman in riverOne gorgeous sun-drenched day you’re floating on your back, satiated by the cool water on your body. Two short minutes later, your life is pitched over a cliff, and you’re slogging through a shitty river with aching bones and bloodied feet.

As soul-sisters, we can’t step inside each other’s shoes. But you can bet your aching ass, we’re walking beside you on the riverbank, pulling the trigger on the flare gun to light up a piece of the sky, guiding you home. Maybe we can’t hold hands while you slip and slide over jagged stones, dragging your deflated self through the muck, but feel our spirit, sister. We’re your crutch when you’re sure you’ll be sucked under and drown in the depths of your grief. We’re the brace for your cracked heart. We’re the voice in your head, whispering, “I know how strong you are. I know you can make this journey. You have what it takes to go the distance. “

It’s inky black, where cold settles into the marrow of your bones. It’s that space where even our nightmares don’t dare go. Though you can’t see the light slicing through the clouds, we can, and know you only have a ¼ mile left to go. When you climb out of the river, we’ll be there waiting for you. We’ll have a towel, a glass of ice tea, a blanket laid out for you on a lush patch of green grass where you can rest your weary body, re-acquaint yourself with the sun, and feel its warmth on your bruised skin.  

Soul sister, reach your frightened self out to us. Give us a chance to be your flare gun, your crutch, a brace for your cracked heart.  Yes, we’re BUSY. We are all BUSY, but hear this: Soul-sisters are NEVER too busy to be there for each other. You’re not weak. You’re not a burden. When you allow us to walk along the riverbank, you’re offering us a gift to be of purpose. We love you. We want to be there for you. Please ask us, and we promise, we’ll ask you. We’ll help you to see the hope that awaits you at the other end of the river.  


I write this post, understanding that we teach what we must learn. I’ve been a therapist a long time and assigned myself to the role of listening to my soul sisters. And here’s what I’ve learned, it’s safer, too. The truth is, to knock on a door or pick up the phone and admit to feeling scared or lost or weak takes the courage to be vulnerable. This is the foundation of a two-way friendship. This is the foundation for soul growth. It’s the dance between Giving and Receiving, Openly and Willingly (G.R.O.W.) that cracks open the portal for growth.

Two tragedies back to back slung me over that cliff and into that river. A month before my mother’s stroke, my Golden Retriever, Luke, chased a squirrel into the road. I heard the tires screech, heard the thump. Slow motion. The woman walked down our walkway. No Luke chasing after her as he normally would. A knock on the door.  “Do you have a Golden Retriever?”

The tires screeched. The thump. The sounds snapped together in those suspended seconds of time. My husband and I stumbled over our feet, through the back door. Luke lay lifeless in the ditch across the street. My husband collapsed on hands and knees, ran his hand along Luke’s broken spine, and lifted his head as our companion slipped away from us.

I felt the crack of my own heart, and was sure, that I’d never felt anything so painful. I waded through the river in the dark, hands flailing, searching for anything to hold on to. I needed a crutch. I needed a soul sister. I called one of my best friends and told her that Luke died. She didn’t ask me, “What do you need me to do?”  She drove to my house, wrapped me and my grief up in her arms and said, “We are going to get you another dog.” In that moment, she became a flare, a crutch, a brace for my heart and held hope for me.   

Luke died on November 3rd, 2006, and Indy came home with us three days later, thanks to my soul sister.  

How could she have known that puppy would keep me afloat in the river, when I was hurled into darker nights and deeper waters when my mother had a stroke one month later? My soul sisters would be there for me and my puppy, Indy. While my mother fought for her life, Indy drove back and forth to the hospital and the rehab center with me for weeks. After being by my mother’s side, wailing inside myself, I’d come back to the car, nuzzle my face into Indy’s neck, reminding me that hope lives all around us in the most dire of circumstances. When I let my soul sisters walk beside me on the riverbank, they offered up a brace for my cracked heart.

When have you let your soul sister in? If you haven’t, reach out to her. She’ll gladly offer a flare, a crutch, a brace for your heart. “Sister,” she’ll say, “you only have a ¼ mile to go.”

22 thoughts on “A 1/4 Mile Left To Go

  1. You gave me chills this time, you. First off, your prose was beautiful. Second, I know that safety of always being the listener. Of not reaching out. Of not wanting to appear weak. But you’re right: we need each other. We need to step off that ledge, and trust that our sisters will be there to break our fall. I’m proud to call you one of my sisters. LOVE YOU!

    1. Oh…Alissia…me, too, me, too…thank GOD for the Passion Cert training!! I want you to be one of my guest bloggers…what do you say, soul sister?! I love your blog…your words…and the messages you have that must reach the world!

  2. Awww, this is really sweet and really gives awareness for all “soul sisters” who are there for us, even if waiting watchfully in the wings while we stumble through our life. There should be a word that isn’t gender specific that honors these special people in our lives and inspires us to recognize how important and courageous they are and to know how to be one. xoxoxo Berry

  3. So poignant. So honest. Susan, this blog is such a wonderful combination of all your gifts… open heart, warmth, honesty, therapist, giver of hope, thank you. I am so blessed to have my soul sisters. The family we choose.

    1. Michelle…this comment made me cry! Thank you for your words, your encouragement, your love. I’m hoping that each week…people take away inspiration and hope. I feel so blessed to for my soul sisters. Love you my friend! xo

  4. We are a far flung tribe. Thanks for the reminder that the light is only a call away. Keep at it girl. You’ve got something going here. It’s a new side of your writing that I am LOVING. x

  5. I am blessed to have the soul-sisters in my life that share the good as well as the bad. I couldn’t do it without them. Love you Sue.

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE these posts! What a gift you bring to all of us in reminding we are not alone on this journey. I will take it to heart and hope to share it with a loved one when they might need that extra push to let a Soul Sister in.

  7. Poignant and beautiful as always, dearest! How blessed we are to be sisters. I believe in soul clusters; we come from stars and return to stars. In between, on this long trek on earth that is over too soon, we find each other, if we are lucky, connect , touch hearts and lift each other up, through Divine Grace. I do not know what this journey would be like without you. Keep writing and reaching out, peel back the layers and see what’s underneath!

    1. Thanks, sister, for your lovely comment…I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking and do not know which sis posted this comment! It came up anonymous…reveal yourself, sis!

  8. Scripture from the Book of James: “Confess your faults to one another and pray one for another that ye may be healed.” I love this quote for two reasons: It is okay to not be perfect, to struggle, to be a mess, to be anything but perfect; and the second reason is being that if we choose to approach anything with another like minded person, the healing is that much richer!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s