Borrowed Courage

Ellen Cappard
2 min readFeb 6, 2024

Time was a blur between the passing of my mother and the end of the year. Days and week bled timelines together. I didn’t remember the days, just the actions: call family and share the news, feed the cats, make dinner for Sophia. I remember the friend who stopped by and just sat with me because that’s all I really needed. She watched me wash dishes and share memories of my mother. I showed her pictures from albums covering decades of my life. She graciously obliged and allowed my oversharing of childhood stories. I hugged her when her ride came to get her, sincerely squeezing her for being a safe place I could gather myself.

Another day a friend stopped by with a lunch feast; Acme fried chicken, potato salad and sweet Hawaiian rolls. We chatted about the weather changing, the upcoming holiday season, updates of our children at the table filled with sympathy bouquets. Even though this was before my mother’s service our meal had the comfort of a repast. A comfort of familiar food with soft words and tenderness graciously passed between two souls.

In the glow of a warm autumn morning I walked with another friend along the Brandywine River. The colors of the leaves were vibrant and shifting, warm hues swayed in the breeze with a light crisp to it. We both shared where we were on our journey with grief, both figuring out how to step forward with loss. It was a cathartic walk and talk, knowing there was someone growing through the same steps so comforting to my soul. We embraced and let out a deep sigh, tears freely rolling down my cheeks. Her embrace was a safe space for me to be free feeling the deep heavy feelings and release them.

The friendships I’m experiencing in this season of my life have been transformative. There is so much beauty in how we hold space or one another. They are great examples of how we are so familiar despite our outer differences. I stand in gratitude for the ones that show up for me, hold space for me, and stand by me in my moments of growth and changes. The covering of each other with grace has been a manifestation of favor.

I have also allowed myself to extend goodness to others and it helps me feel more alive than ever. It allows me to connect and build bonds with souls who are navigating great change or facing adversity and see my own growth through these lessons. In this way I am able to share the courage I received from living, and when I needed it back I could borrow some of their courage. How we show up for one another as a bridge over adversity — reassurance for that leap of faith- is the borrowed courage to make a bold decision. It is a key element of our humanity.

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Ellen Cappard

Artist, educator, writer, and mother dedicated to sharing my experiences with others. An evolving lover of all things beautiful and explorer of the Truth!