This past weekend, I took a break from the heartbreaking tragedy in Ukraine and binged The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 4 (Amazon Prime Video). The series is set in the late 1950s in Manhattan. Midge’s final stand-up performance in episode 8 was profound. She had just left the hospital bed of her ex-father-in-law. He was unconscious after suffering a heart attack and they had no idea if he was going to live or not. In her last monologue of the season, she shares her experience at the hospital. As she observes the men in her family fall apart, she is taken by the realization that these men were supposed to be her strength and take care of her in time of need. However, they are crumbling before her full of fear and unable to think clearly. The male doctors are going in and out of the hospital room as fast as they can, and the female nurses are left to take care of her father-in-law and her heartbroken family. Midge’s final words were, “It is hard to see the men in your life scared. With the men out of commission, the women have to keep going. We assume we are supporting the real leaders. What if we discover one day that we were always the ones in charge, just no one told us?”
Those insightful words make me pivot to thinking about the incredible resilience and fortitude of the women in Ukraine. As I write this blog, in Ukrainian bomb shelters, and in refugee facilities in Poland and other countries, women are caring for their children, parents, siblings, and grandparents. Women are risking their lives trying to find safety for their families. Nurses, mostly women, are caring for newborn infants, many ill, in bomb shelters as there is no way to safely get these children to neighboring countries. And yes, there are women who have joined in to resist in many other ways, as tanks and invading troops from Russia try to seize their homes, Country, and freedom.
I am asking us all to PAUSE and honor the brave women of Ukraine. As I witness the parade of women clutching their children, with only the items that they can carry strapped to their bodies, I am reminded of the strength of the “Mama Bear” within us. Do not mess with our loved ones – women have tremendous survival skills, great endurance, and are emotionally strong. You can sense their heartache, but also feel the love they have for their Country as they cross the borders or volunteer to stay and fight.
These women are leading the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine through their heroism. This is why women of Ukraine should be at the table and involved in discussions of de-escalation and other processes in pursuit of peace and security for the people of Ukraine and beyond.
Let’s PAUSE and honor these brave women, pray for them, find ways to support the refugees, and be grateful for our freedoms.