seat-on-the-sofa This is a new blog series we are introducing to our community. Our hopes are to expand it so that you can soon join us on the sofa. Our first piece: About a month ago I was preparing to experience the second year of my father’s birthday without him being here physically. I dreaded this day as much as I dread any major date without him being here, but for some reason this year I was really struggling to pull it together. So my friends offered to come over so that I wouldn’t be alone, I am blessed to say these same friends came the first year as well and we sat on the sofa unapologetically eating every carb we loved. Well this year we turned the night into a festivity and we called it: Tequila, Tacos, and Tears…on a Tuesday. The four of us gathered in the kitchen to collectively cook a meal. We laughed at one of our friends who went ballistic in the supermarket, in order to get shrimp (to suffice my pescatarian needs). Her experience is something she will never let me live down, but I love it, it’s what makes her- her.  We sat in my cozy kitchen designed for occasions such as these, and enjoyed this meal together. We made margaritas as if it was Friday night and we had no care in the world. tacos-and-tequilas I was able to suppress my feelings until we realized how quickly 7:00 pm turned to 12:00 am. Then it was time to face why we were really there. They each shared their stories of grief and the recent loss of loved ones who played huge parts in their lives. They realized how much their loved ones existence defined their own. Then my friend said, “Elle, this is about you, we have all shared our stories and our tears it’s your turn.” But I didn’t want it to be my turn because I hate being vulnerable I felt I cried last year, and on every other occasion that reminded me of him. Then I shared how I was taught to hold it in, be strong and not cry, but then I realized how much that suppression never really allowed me to deal with my pain. I then remembered hearing TD Jakes say he would hope that his wife and daughters experience an absence similar to the ones he had seen so many women state they have, when he passes away. Because that pain and absence serves as a tribute to the life of the ones we lose. I began to talk about the pain I feel and how it is hard to even breathe somedays because the pain is so severe. But I was ok because I had my friends, my sisters, who had experienced this depth of pain, with me. We left with the belief in our hearts that our loved ones: my father, her mother, her grandmother, and her grandfather, were all smiling down at us and happy that we had one another during a time like this. We needed that time together. All women need this time together. Whether your seat is in the kitchen, or your office, or your sofa. Know it’s important and needed. So please grab a few of your friends and host a Tequila, Tacos, and Tears night, and let us know how it goes. -Elle Harris