Steel Magnolias

1458529_10153446487285494_1151342272_nMagnolia trees are amazing. These flowering beauties have been around for 95 million years, even before the bees appeared on Earth. Consequently, they are pollinated by wingless beetles. Not the most subtle of insects, they are rough and heavy. So magnolias have developed a special flower, one that looks beautiful, smells wonderfully and is tough! This flower is made of just one sturdy flower part: tepal, a combination of petal and sepal. Quite unique and shared only by the water-lily and the buttercup families.

magnol3bThese amazing plants can be shrubs or towering trees, with flowers in every color from creamy white through a range of pinks to deep purple. They do well in partial shade or direct sunlight. Easy to care for and pest-free. They produce a cone-like receptacle that protects the seeds until maturity. There are 210 kinds of magnolias flowering on every continent on the planet.

You must be wondering why I am giving such an explanation about flowers on this blog. Simple: I have learned that women are like magnolias. Remember the movie? Steel Magnolias? About women that can appeared fragile, but can withstand hardship and pain and come out of that stronger and wiser. Women endure and survive and are better for it. We are a force to be reckon with!

At this stage of our lives, we think we have experienced most everything. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. It is never too late to be faced with another challenge and another heartache. This week I heard another of my friends has been stricken with breast cancer. It makes eight of them. Fortunately, most are survivors and doing well!!! The two dear friends I lost taught me a lot about friendship, caring, selflessness and love. Of course for all the learning, I would have preferred to have them with us.

Is it me or statistics are getting scarier? It seems as if each one of us know and care for several extraordinary women that have breast cancer. As Andrea Mitchell said the other day: “It’s a sorority none of us wanted to join“, but unfortunately is growing. There is much to be done to stop this disease and it is up to us to keep putting pressure on governments and doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies to find the cure.

I have seen my friends battle this illness. I have seen them go through this challenge and I have been amazed. I have seen their grace in gathering themselves and giving strength to their families and friends, I have seen their courage in the face of pain and I have seen their dignity above all. They proved, once again, that women are like magnolias: beautiful, strong and resilient. Here’s to Steel Magnolias everywhere!!!

P.S. I want to thank my friend Seema for letting me use her beautiful photograph. I hope you keep enjoying your trips to your friend’s bungalow in Mussoorie!!

Feel free to visit these sites. You can find information, get involved and donate:

Breast Cancer Research

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Susan G. Komen

6 Replies to “Steel Magnolias”

  1. This write up is a testament to the strenght of every woman that faces adversity; life is not easy and challenge us continuously, grace and persistence make us very strong warriors.

  2. Lovely article, Mercedes. I haven’t watch steel magnolias, but I can see the connection. Toughness and resilience.. That makes us women. After all.. It is only our sex that is capable of ruling the world with an iron hand in a velvet glove 🙂
    Look forward to reading more from you..

    1. Thank you, Seema! This is a subject very close to my heart, so it was easy to write. If women ruled the world, how different it would be. In the meantime we can make our voices heard every way we can and everywhere we can. Do look this movie up, you will love it!

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