Gig Line: Bow our heads and lift our chins

Published 8:23 am Friday, November 13, 2020

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This 2020 election has clearly exemplified and even tested our American spirit, passion and perseverance and whether we are happy with the outcomes or disappointed, I’ve decided one thing for sure and that is to get on with my life, focus on all the blessings around me and to serve the Lord and others to the best of my ability.

Thanksgiving is coming and whether I have to sit at the table with a mask on, a shield or a bag over my head with two peep holes for my eyes, or sit the length of a football field and scream my love to my children, family and friends through a megaphone, I’ll do that too. We’ve endured over the last nine months that darned COVID-19, closings of businesses resulting in losses of critical family income, assault on law enforcement officers, disregard for public safety overall and destruction of private and taxpayer public property. But the biggest heartache of all? The loss of life. Not being able to sit beside a loved one who was critically ill or dying due to COVID or other ailments like heart, cancer, etc. Not being able to hold their hand, tell them how much we loved them and to give them hope, even when that last message spoken to them was a lie.

Thank the Lord I have not lost a family member to COVID, but my heart – like yours I feel sure – has gone out to those who have. I have wept at the testimony of those who have described their last minutes staring through a glass window at their father or mother, husband or wife or at whomever they were unable to sit by, pray with, comfort and reassure that everything would be okay even if the messenger wasn’t sure that it would be.

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When my sweet veteran husband journeyed to Heaven four years ago, we surrounded his bed right here at home, we held his hands, we told him how much we loved him and how proud he had always made all of us, how much he was loved, our hero, strong and my one and only true love. Our kids kissed his cheek and forehead and told him how thankful they were to be his son and daughter; our grandchildren who had helped turn him over when he was too weak to turn himself, whispered their love to him, fighting back the tears and trying to put on a good front. Our Preacher Steve visited not long before Billy passed and prayed over him asking God to “take this brave soldier;” thankfully God did less than an hour later.

My heart has been heavy for admitted patients across our nation restricted from close family contact or of being held, hugged, kissed or comforted in their last days or hours because of COVID-19 itself, its horrible influence or the threat of it even when the patients themselves were not COVID positive.

We have suffered much as a nation and across our whole world. We were caught with our britches down but have learned a lot through trial and error, dedication of medical teams and scientists and government officials. We have new medicines and vaccines in the works to help us heal sooner and by far, we are closer to that reality every day. In the meantime, God bless all who have taken care of us, saved us, buried those who have passed, delivered food and supplies and everyone who has sincerely cared and worked toward an end to this nightmare. Thank the Lord too for our veterans and their families, for our National Guard, many who have been thrown into and amid chaos and unrest, putting their lives on the line. We have much to appreciate even through this big fat mess.

Veterans Week this year will be different, COVID has affected that too. The annual Veterans Writing Workshop that was scheduled for Nov. 7 and 8 has been temporarily postponed and almost all of the week of Veteran’s Day activities we share and enjoy each year are canceled, however, please keep abreast of the Dare County website and also the Dare County Arts Council via – that will help keep you informed of veteran related updates.

As I suggested last week, watch Christmas movies – I cannot stress it enough. Even though some of the storylines are very similar and the actors and actresses you’ve seen over and over, the sights and sounds that embrace the holidays; celebrate when Jesus was born most importantly and when remembrances of family get togethers and traditions flood your brain, it makes you smile. Sad, too, because many of those we loved so much are no longer here, but for a long time they were and the memories of those happy times bring joy and funny times as well and teases about my terrible cooking! Cozy times recalling movies with popcorn and snuggles together with a blanket on the couch, or dressing up in the glitter and glitz for fancy parties. Watching our little ones shriek when they opened that one present they hoped they would get and in thinking about all the nice things our U.S. Marine Corps League Toys for Tots and others do for children who have so little. Life is good. Life is precious and so are our memories. Hang onto them, embrace them. They are our never-ending treasures of the heart.

If you do not currently subscribe to The Coastland Times, please think about it and call 252-473-2105. This special newspaper that comes out on the stands twice a week (Sunday and Wednesday) is tradition too for a lot of us Outer Bankers. And did you know you can hear Gig Line and other articles on their website rather than read while you’re traveling? It’s a cool feature so check it out!

Okeydokey – until next time, be happy, stay safe and be proud! And if you can’t think of anything to lighten your spirit these days, think about my friend in Southern Shores who loved and loves every day his precious “petite Greek goddess” (an angel) who he misses and cherishes from morning til night, my proud U. S. Marine friend, Lee. All of us “heartache buddies” who miss our spouses are moving into tomorrow just like everybody else, thankful and blessed. Remember Bob Hope and Shirley Ross “Thanks for the Memory”? Think about it my friends and play it on YouTube if you get a chance.

Please call 252-202-2058 or email me at or Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer at 252-475-5604 if you know a veteran who could use some help. We all do sometimes, you know? God bless you all, take care and stay tuned.