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The Grace of Rosie

She wandered into my booth, blonde hair and bright eyes with a face full of a lifetime of stories. She was my first browser of the day. I say browser for many people wander into my booth to browse. Some become customers. All are welcome. I just wait to see what brings each person my way.

"I love your art," she pronounced after a few moments of looking around.

"Are you a local or a visitor?" I asked. This is a common question I use to make a connection with those who come by my art booth in my markets. This happened today at Astoria Sunday Market.

Astoria is a coastal town in northern Oregon. The local community loves the market and comes out in droves each week. There are also many visitors to the area as Astoria is known for being an eclectic place to visit with it's charming Main Street shops and surrounding eateries and breweries. Astoria Sunday Market is a large draw every week.

"I'm local now, I'm new here," she answered.

And then, her story tumbled out... she had finally had enough... she had to get away from her abuser... she got in her car and just started driving with no idea where she was going... miles and miles away from him... people helped her along the way until she found herself in a safe place.

"I am never going back," she said with a fierce resolve I recognized when a woman has made up her mind once and for all.

"I wouldn't even look in my rear view mirror while I drove," she said. With this admission she choked up. She paused as tears filled her pretty blue eyes. I stayed still in the quiet space as I felt her loss as well as her courage.

Her body slightly slumped as she held the weight of it all. I stepped toward her with my arms open wide. She fell into my embrace and let out a small rush of tears.

"The best is yet to come for you," I whispered into her ear.

She stepped back and stood straight, her eyes sparkling with a kind of twinkle that took years off her aging countenance.

'Your best years are ahead of you, not behind you," I said and I meant it. I felt it. I wished it and hoped it and Just Knew It for her.

With spontaneous inspiration I grabbed a Rosie the Riveter card from my greeting card spinner and handed it to her.

"This is for you," I told her.


"I made something with Rosie the Riveter when I was in high school and gave it to my mom. She kept it for years!" Her voice became animated as she shared this with me. It was a meaningful memory, Rosie the Riveter a meaningful symbol in her life. I had no way of knowing that, but the Benevolent Universe I like to believe exists did.

I told her to come back and see me whenever she comes to the market.

There was no sadness in me for what she has been through. That's in her past. I felt fierce optimism. She has done the hardest part.

She had left him.

She disrupted her entire life. She broke the hold of whoever was harming her.

For those familiar with domestic violence it is a major breakthrough of unfathomable bravery when a victim is able to find the will and courage to Leave. It is like breaking a curse. And it will cause such upheaval in every kind of way on a person's entire life. I was in awe of having a glimpse of her journey.

May the persistent fierce spirit of Rosie lead this woman step by step into the new story and future she is creating for herself. It takes guts and grace. It takes hope against all the odds. She said more than once how people came along to help her, total strangers who helped lead her away from danger and into sanctuary.

(If you are in a situation of domestic violence, text the word START to 88788 to reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline. )


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