The Power Of Friendship: Navigating Grief And New Beginnings With Elizabeth Randles

WRT 8 | Friendship

  For today’s episode, Tina Fornwald sits down with her dear friend, Elizabeth Randles. They were both in the military, worked at Tobyhanna Army Depot, deployed to Iraq, and are women of color in the workplace. Liz shares her experience with grief and how her life is in a stage of growth and new beginnings. Their discussion shows the extensive levels of support a friend will give in your time of need.  When you are in your most difficult moments of life, people often scatter, but for Tina, she learned her friends dig in deep and help carry the load. This episode is a testament to the power of friendship and the enduring connections that sustain us through all of life’s ups and downs. Join this candid conversation with Liz. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Power Of Friendship: Navigating Grief And New Beginnings With Elizabeth Randles Friends Who Were There Thank you for joining us. We’re going to have a conversation with a friend of mine named Elizabeth, who was with me in Tobyhanna with my husband passed. We spent a lot of time together. Liz has gone through some personal losses that she’ll share and what she was able to leverage to have empathy for me and what I was going through. Let’s get into the conversation. Also, I am sorry for the person you have lost. The grief that you are carrying has driven you to be in this conversation. I hope you feel like you are part of my hood and know you are part of the community and you were not alone. Let’s see what this is about.     My guest in this episode under the series, “My Friends Who Were There,” is my girlfriend, Elizabeth. Hey, Liz. How are you? I am good. It has been a minute since we’ve seen each other. I am glad to get to see you and have some catch-up time. It’ll be a year. Who is Elizabeth? Tell us about yourself. Elizabeth is somebody that is constantly growing and evolving. I’m learning more about myself the further I get away from the military because I joined the military at seventeen. That’s all I knew all my life. When I retired, I had to learn who Liz is and that was a process because I didn’t even know what my favorite color was. I didn’t know how to dress for my body type because I always wore a uniform. I had to learn who she is. I’m still learning who she’s still coming to. To be 63, I’m still learning. How old are you? I’m 63 and still learning. You’re flawless at 63. How long were you in the military and in what branch? What did you do? I was in the military for 28 years. I was in the Army. I was a communication electronic repairer. I repaired radios, teletype, and things like that. What were the evolution of your career in the military, the rank you had, and the places you traveled? I made the highest enlisted rank that you can make which is an E-9 Sergeant Major. I’m the first female in my job or my MOS or Military Occupation Specialty to make an E-9. That’s an accomplishment. I’m in a book, the 100 Sergeants Major of Color. There’s a little asterisk next to my name because I’m the first female in MOS. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been to Kuwait, Germany three times, Korea twice, Fort Campbell, Kentucky twice, Fort Dix, New Jersey, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and my last duty station, Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania. How about your family, friends, and other things going on outside the work list? I’m an empty nester now. I’m starting my life over as a single person. How old are your children? What are they doing? The oldest is married and he’s doing well. He’s back in school now. The youngest one is in school and going to Lock Haven University. Both of my boys are back in school. When you’re not working and you’re not raising children, what do you enjoy doing? I take myself to the movies, on dates, and out to dinner. I’ve been traveling a lot. I got back from San Diego. I’ve been out to Detroit. I’ve been doing things I love to do. What was the last movie you saw? I’ve seen Missing. The one with Nia Long. It was good. I took myself out to the movies. How did we meet? I was thinking about that. We met around 2008. You were coming in this little back stairwell and I was going down the little back stairwell to go to the bathroom. We bumped into each other and I was like, “You’re new here.” You said, “Yes, I am.” We gave our names and that was it at that time. Our friendship was a very slow processing friendship because it was just hi, bye, and stuff. We never communicated until a few years later. It was when we took that LMP course. Where was here? Tobyhanna where we worked at. We worked at the military base together. We took an LMP class together. We were deployed to Iraq or Kuwait around the same time too. You were in Kuwait when I was coming back. I had a week’s transition there. That was when we started to connect a little bit more past the hi’s and byes. It was a slow process. That was in 2010 or 2011. I met you in 2008. That’s about a three-year span that took off. What do you remember about our friendship and me being in Pennsylvania? The most I remember most is how people were confusing us you, Liz, and me, Tina. We were both like, “We don’t even look alike.” You’re four inches taller than I am and have a darker complexion. We both had locks, but your locks were different from …

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