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  • Amy L. Sullivan

Real-Life Gutsy Girls: Showing Guts In the Face of Loss


Photos and text by Amy Young.

Let’s cut right to the chase, sometimes gutsy girls grow up to be gutsy widows. When I first envisioned this post, I was going to refer to my mom as a Gutsy Grandma because I liked the ring of it.

Gutsy Grandma. Yup, I like that.

Gutsy Widow. Not so much.

Gutsy Grandma is rooted in what she has.

Gutsy Widow is rooted in what she has lost.


On October 9th, 1965 Marsha Farley married Tom Young, so this Friday would have been their 50th wedding anniversary. I have strong childhood memories of helping to throw–more like attend–Golden Wedding Celebrations for both sets of my grandparents. I can picture the friends and family gathered together, the hoopla, the new outfits we wore. We still have the yellow potentilla shrub planted in our front yard from one of the parties.

No shrub will be planted for my mom. They made it a few months over 48 years when my dad succumbed to liver disease.

And this is what I’m learning from my mom, being gutsy isn’t just for girls, it’s for grown-ups too. As we gathered around my dad’s hospital bed and had to decide whether to continue with treatment or not, Dad looked to Mom for her input knowing the decision impacted her in ways it impacted no other.

It takes guts to say, “It’s okay to go ahead of me.”

It takes guts to lead the family procession down a different church aisle than the one you walked many years before, this time in black.

It takes guts to attend to the myriad of details and meetings and decisions that used to be shared.

It takes guts to begin to build new traditions well into your 70s while honoring the past.

It takes guts to keep investing in people, knowing that you might not see the fruit of your investment because you are aging.

Because of Dad’s liver disease we, their daughters, threw a 40th wedding anniversary party, just in case one of them didn’t make it to their 50th. But as the years passed us by, we hoped that this Friday would be a day of celebration and not one of remembrance.


And this is why the idea of gutsy girls is so important: you don’t become a gutsy widow if you weren’t first a gutsy girl. Mom taught us that life wasn’t a given, joys and disappointments are a part of life. Although you don’t have to be afraid of what will happen, you do have to roll with life’s punches.

Friday will find our family scattered, instead of gathered together in celebration. While this is sad, it also shows how Mom’s gutsiness has laid the groundwork for life to go on.

It’s gutsy to live life to the very end without checking out.

I love you, Mom.

Who do you know who has shown guts in the face of great loss?

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Thank you to the fabulous Amy Young for sharing here today! Be sure to check-in next Monday as we continue to talk about the gutsy women we know and love.

#RaisingGirls #GutsyGirlsStrongChristianWomenWhoImpactedtheWorld