Gig Line: Something nobody wants to talk about – Part Four
Since I last wrote “Part Three” about this topic the week before Memorial Day, I have considered my own list of things to do and to follow through by practicing what I preach.
Some time ago, after my “sweetie pie” Billy took our Lord’s hand, I met with our attorney and we created an updated version of what had previously been Billy’s and my last will and testament. I had to. I had to account for changes that had come about since his passing focusing primarily on financially matters and to make any needed adjustments that unfortunately surfaced as a result of his passing.
Once finished, I gave our son and daughter their copy of my will for their files so that all three of us were on the same page. Even today, I contacted my bank and inquired about the status of signature cards on file to be sure to avoid any issues at the time it will be necessary for them to utilize them.
Am I rushing things a bit? No, not at all. I love life and all the blessings in it and I hope our Father in Heaven favors me hanging around for a good long while. I just want to make sure the most wonderful children in the world (to me) are provided with tools to see those decisions they make are easier and less burdensome. It goes without saying, I love my kids with all my heart and equally.
After I talked to the bank, I sat for a bit and thought about how things can change so quickly in life. After all, in only a short period of four months, Billy and I went from planning trips out of town to planning more veteran celebration programs at our church to enjoying our semi-retirement – then BOOM! Out of nowhere, there was a terminal, aggressive cancer diagnosis and the world stopped spinning.
I miss him so and Memorial Day brings it all to the surface again as if it doesn’t already stare me in the face 24/7. I watched the poignant 32nd National Memorial Day Concert on PBS and couldn’t take my eyes off it. It was a moving and beautifully performed salute to the men and women who lost their lives defending ours in various wars. It encapsulated the challenge, hardship, overwhelming circumstances that surrounded our soldiers, airman, seamen and Marines. It celebrated not only the men but the women, too, who volunteered to serve our country in many capacities, especially to support and administer care, comfort and compassion to those who in their last moments of life held their hand. It did something more, too. It brought attention and honor to the Vietnam veteran nurses who hosed down the blood-drenched floors of the areas that received stretcher after stretcher after stretcher of the critically wounded.
I am privileged to know a woman who served in the U.S. Army as a nurse in Vietnam and I respect her greatly. She taught the 240-hour nurse’s assistant class I took along with two other Dare County women back in the 80s. She was an awesome teacher, an incredible hero to me (and especially to my Billy) though I am doubtful she knew it. To this day we are friends; I love her, and I am grateful to her for all she did for the countless troops she took care of.
It was a given that I would cry watching that collection of stories about some of the survivors of those horrific wars as professional actors told their stories as if it were their own, personal accounts of the well below freezing conditions in the Korean War and their experiences of being saved from the jaws of death by a fellow brother. I knew if Billy were here, he too would have cried hard, heavy tears of experience, of witness, of remembrance of the terror that engulfed them all and of the further tragedy of coming home to being spat on, protests and hate speech. How, I thought, HOW could we have ever treated them that way?
The weekend was beautiful and the recollections of the bravery, sacrifice and determined spirit of those who have died was accompanied by wishes for families of all ages to remember, to really remember but to find joy in the day that was provided to us all through the valor and heroism of those we have lost. A sad and memorable day, but a day also to reflect in the glory that we as Americans have so much to be thankful for, to smile about, to embrace about our military forces and everyone who wore the uniforms that depicted their branch of service.
It is without question that our day off from work, our picnics and our time together as family and friends is a result of our American heroes – each and every one.
Next week, I will tell you the story of making the unexpected decisions even the night my husband left this world, the day after at the funeral home and plans for a service that honored him and why today I encourage everyone to get your thoughts, plans and decisions made, then set them aside to collect dust for hopefully many, many years to come.
For yourself or for veterans you know who need help in some way, please contact our local Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan, at 252-475-5604 or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or you are welcome to call me at 252-202-2058 or email me at email@example.com and I will reach out to Patty for you.
Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Thank every veteran you see, appreciate the holidays that acknowledge our veterans and love like you’ve never loved before. I thank God for you and for you taking the time to read Gig Line. God bless you and stay tuned.
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