Gig Line: Looking back, looking forward

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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For many across our nation and the world, for that matter, waving goodbye to last year was something we have looked forward to – maybe more than ever before. Anticipating the new year brought much to the surface for me and no doubt for many of you…memories of happy years of get togethers, party hats, noise makers, maybe a toast, but always a long, sweet kiss just before the clock struck midnight and until just after. It was my Sweetie Pie Billy and I’s tradition – without fail – until he went to Heaven almost five years ago.

Embracing new year digits represents a new beginning; a fresh start, a hope for much better days ahead when we can freely visit loved ones again, warmly hug and embrace each other and hopefully very soon no longer have to worry that a close encounter might result in sickness, grief or tragic loss. “Out with the old, in with the new” is a phrase expressed often this time of year but because I choose to make this Gig Line a celebration of the blessings we witnessed last year that were positive, uplifting and inspiring. I refuse to focus on the dark side and instead consider the abundance of love, care, devotion, dedication, determination and sacrifice across this great nation; countless first responders, nurses, doctors, lab and x-ray techs, scientists, sample swab takers. Every single person who came in contact with those tested at outside venues – all of them – as well as the servers, front counter people, delivery truck drivers, grocery store employees, taxi drivers who were exposed. They were brave, bold and they put themselves in danger in order to help bring a resolve, eradication and a healing. Law enforcement personnel from state to state who tried to end unjustified violence and destruction along with the danger it put them in – they were tough, strong and they were there for us. For the lawmakers who truly cared about us, the people, not their own well-being first. All of those who persisted against all odds. And for the men and women of faith who made it their mission to encourage, pray with and support grieving families. They are all heroes!

It goes without saying that we have much to celebrate even considering the hardships we have been through. Many have lost loved ones not related to the virus. Very recently we lost a beloved member of our community, a loved hometown boy who achieved greatness in the political world, former North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight. Marc was special for a lot of reasons, but the thing that stood out to me most was his acknowledgement when he saw you. He never became too big or too busy to say hello and he cared about what all of us every day people care about, especially our watermen.

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One morning back before Marc became ill, he was in the 7-Eleven in Manteo where my sweet Billy had gone in for something and after the two old schoolmates exchanged greetings, he told Billy that he really liked Gig Line and that he read it every week. That made Billy proud, which in turn made me happy that it meant something to him. Marc was dearly loved and respected and he is an icon of his beloved Dare County.

Many loved ones have left this world in 2020 and I want to acknowledge the family members who remain with broken hearts, freely flowing tears and a heartache that comes often in waves, but I also want to tell each grieving family member to just know that as hard as it is, you will get through it, you have to. You have no other choice, none of us do. Devoted family members, close friends, prayers from those you know and love and even from strangers help greatly in the healing process and as my friend who lost her husband not long ago said, “Time makes it more tolerable.”

For all who will consider it, Peggy Snead will again lead the 13-week Grief Share class beginning Thursday, January 14 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church in Manteo at 300 Ananias St. Also, there will be two options to attend – either in person or by Zoom. If you can attend in person, masks are required as well as social distancing, however, you can call the church at 252-473-2089 to sign up in advance, to order the $15 Grief Share notebook (not required – but well worth it!) or to get the code to attend through the ZOOM method of attendance on your computer. I personally love the classes because Peggy has been through grief herself and is gracious in her delivery of the material. She and the class are both outstanding!

Until next time, I sincerely wish you a Happy New Year, that you enjoy good health, safety and happiness with this fresh start. Remember our veterans and never forget their sacrifice for us every day. Be good to each other, love those around you as never before and know how very much I appreciate you. Call me at 252-202-2058 or write to me at Patty O’Sullivan, our Dare County Veteran Service Officer, is ready and willing to help you if you are a veteran who might want to discuss a V.A. claim, potential benefits or future entitlements. She can be reached at 252-475-5604 or by email at God bless you and remember that no matter if we know each other or not, I love you!