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About eight years ago, I was in a meeting with an internationally respected physician talking about books. She said to me, “One day I’m going to start a book club and I hope you will join.”

Two years later, my friend called to say she was starting the club. I was nervous that first day; the other members were all accomplished women, well-known in the community and beyond. I’ll admit, I was really intimidated. The first book for our light summer reading was “Bleak House” – 1,017 pages, 360,947 words!

Our club was no ordinary book club. We met at the same house (our founder’s) each meeting, recorded minutes and, after the second meeting when nobody ate, we eliminated snacks. Our two-hour meeting included mind-expanding book discussions. Our name, the Busy Women Book Club, described us perfectly.

Each meeting, we would find our seats, always gravitating toward the same chairs. The first order of business: talk about something that happened in our lives since the last meeting. It was added to the minutes, and after our chat, we started the book discussion.

The member who suggested the book became the leader for that gathering, although clearly this group has a lot of leaders and by the end of each session we all had the floor. Our founder always kept us in check, especially if we had more chit-chat than book-chat. The breadth of our discussions was vast and all encompassing. We often digressed, but our founder always brought us back.

Each year, we have a movie and meal night. This is when I found out, to my delight, that the favorite movie of our founder was “Legally Blonde.” I will admit, I love “Legally Blonde” because it is funny and romantic; our founder relished it because it exemplified the third wave of feminism.

Over the course of years, we became a solid group; month after month learning about each other’s lives, sharing our happiness and sorrows. We became friends.

Tragedy struck our club founder in September; she suffered a traumatic and ultimately fatal head injury. She was in the hospital for more than five months. Our club rallied around our friend, Dr. Linda Brodsky, and her family. We brought meals and visited her numerous times each week, along with other friends and family. We cried and prayed together.

Our group continued to meet, but now we were meeting in Linda’s hospital room, with the hope that she heard our discussion and prayers and felt our love. The community united in prayer for Dr. Linda Brodsky; she was admired and respected near and far. But to us, she was our beloved friend.

One never knows what tomorrow will bring. Who knew that this group of women, mostly strangers to each other, would form such a tight bond? Book clubs are so much more than a monthly meeting. The past few months have demonstrated the power of our group, the strength of friendship and the connection that we all need to exist fully. We all miss Linda terribly and we will continue to meet; we want to meet.

We recently held our first book club meeting since Linda passed. It was in a new home and we had some great snacks (new traditions). We spent the first hour chit-chatting, until I reminded everyone that Linda was looking down at us, telling us to move it along and discuss the book already!

I am so thankful for meeting Linda all those years ago and for her connecting me to our group. Linda will never be forgotten.