Gig Line: Something nobody wants to talk about

Published 5:40 pm Sunday, May 16, 2021

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First, because I have been asked by several Gig Line readers, an update on Sarah Smith: Thank you for showing your concern, for sending notes, love gifts and emails offering your prayers and love toward a young woman you may not even know. I had written about Sarah in the Sunday, April 11 edition of The Coastland Times in which I described the medical battle she had endured as a six-year-old with stage IV cancer with low expectation for recovery, but through the grace of God, she recovered, graduated college and now at age 25 was just recently engaged to the one true love of her life, Gage Long, with their pending wedding date this May 22.

As the granddaughter of a very dedicated veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I wrote that just following their engagement, she came to be hospitalized here and at Duke University Hospital for a large mass in her abdomen with concerns of possible cancer again and at that writing she was scheduled for both the mass and bone biopsies. Since then, it was determined that Sarah did not have cancer in those sites, however the mass is too large to remove at this time. Medication – with the hope of shrinking the mass – will be administered.

In addition, after several hospitalizations here and at Duke, she finally came home only to again return to Duke within days of discharge with high fevers, lethargy, inability to eat very much at a time and another drastic drop in her blood platelets. They are still trying to determine the reason these issues are re-occurring but for now, Sarah and Gage are leaving the situation in God’s hands and focusing on their wedding day when they will publicly profess their precious love for each other with a hope and prayer for a resolve to this health crisis, a successful surgery sometime following their wedding and a long life together.

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The fact that some faithful readers of Gig Line have donated funds to help Sarah and Gage deal with the expenses each of them have had missing work, travel, overnight stays for Gage in Durham, etc. is such a blessing and I thank you on behalf of these deserving young people, but also having witnessed first-hand the genuine goodness and help you all have provided. Some of you have sent a love gift through the GoFundMe site as noted on Sarah’s mom’s (Becky) blog; several of you have sent checks directly to Manteo First Assembly of God in Manteo earmarked for Sarah and several veterans have mailed checks to my home address made payable to Sarah (which I delivered the same day I received them to Sarah’s home). Your kindness has provided a real blessing to the young couple. Again, thank you so very much.

As someone who has relied on prayer pretty much throughout my life, I believe God hears, listens and answers them in one way or the other. If you are a prayerful person, prayers for Sarah are important and greatly appreciated.

It goes without saying that in the world as we know it today there are a lot of things people don’t want to talk about. People have become paranoid about what they can and cannot say. The English language as we’ve always known it has been somewhat dissected, restructured and scrutinized beyond belief. Familiar words or terms have been chastised or dared to be spoken, while new ones have been added to accommodate the “woke” culture or whatever you wish to call it. At some point we may not need masks at all and maybe people will just keep their mouths shut, zipped, “nada,” except to eat and drink for fear of retribution in one way or the other, which I find so disappointing and down-right sickening.

I’m a baby-boomer and I’m so glad I am, so thankful that I was raised by good, solid parents who, though they were not overly religious, demonstrated and influenced integrity, decency, kindness to others, respect for my elders, people in authority and who taught me to have respect toward others – to not use offensive, hurtful words against any race, people in authority, people of faith or people who were economically or socially challenged.

But what I’m writing about in this Gig Line specifically is about a topic no one ever wants to discuss unless it’s with their trusted attorney or legal counsel. It’s something that has been on my mind for a long time and a topic I’ve wanted to elaborate on because I care about you – and your family. That topic is having a last will and testament drawn up with your specific wishes addressed accordingly and prior to any health crisis.

I’m not positive, but when my mama passed away in 1977 at 52 years old, I don’t believe she had a will and I honestly don’t remember my parents ever discussing the subject within earshot. It’s not exactly a joyous subject matter or a happy thought and most folks avoid the topic at all costs, professing they’ll get around to it “sometime.”

Later, as years passed, Daddy maintained his aversion to the word “will” and he wasn’t receptive to anyone including his brother, Uncle Clyde R. Mann (Brigadier General U.S. Marine Corps – WWII, Korea and Vietnam veteran and the Marines Chief Legal Officer), encouraging him to do so. Daddy didn’t want to hear it or accept Uncle Clyde’s advice even though he knew there were decisions he needed to make at some point in his life to protect the interests of those he loved. Then, he passed about 10 years after Mama, still without a will, although he had made provisions to have some of his legal matters addressed before he even realized he was ill.

Realizing we needed to address the matter our own selves, my husband (Billy) and I sought the advice of a lawyer we trusted, make recommendations to ensure our wishes would be carried out if something happened to both of us simultaneously and to discuss the aspect of a living will, too. Because both of our children were not yet of legal age, we asked our best friend if she would oversee our estate should it become necessary, of which she agreed. The document was executed, circulated to our friend and put in a safe place at home and then we rested, feeling we had taken care of the necessary business.

Because I tend to be long winded, (really? sur-prize, sur-prize!) I will contine this story into the next edition of The Coastland Times and maybe even finish in the one after that. Like I said, nobody wants to discuss the inevitable, but everyone should. It’s important folks – you deserve to have your final wishes, sendoff, celebration of life or however you wish to phrase it readied for the way you want things to be done. I will also suggest/address what you need to consider as a veteran in advance of your passing as well. Please keep up with Gig Line over the next few weeks if you have an opportunity. Perhaps you, your spouse or children have “taken care of business” already – and good for you if you have – but in the event you haven’t yet, the next few Gig Lines with provide food for thought. What you choose to do with it is up to you, of course, but for your sake and that of your family, it might be of help. I am of course not an attorney, nor do I claim to know it all (by far), but life is precious and unpredictable and knowing steps were taken to ensure your wishes are carried out – need I say more?

Until next time, be happy, safe, and be proud. We are Americans and we have much to be proud of! Also, please call me: cell 252-202-2058 or email me: if you are a veteran/veteran’s family or you know of a veteran in need of some help or contact our official Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan: 252-475-5604 or email: Patty can assist you in determining your potential eligibility when it comes to filing a V.A. claim or acquiring a duplicate DD-214 that may have been lost over the years, etc. And like I recently told a nice couple from New York and recent Dare County property owners – I love you all! I truly do! God bless our veterans, our law enforcement and our clergy. Lord be with all who try to make a positive difference and who show courage in this world. Stay tuned!