Posts Tagged ‘loss’


Life is Short

November 28, 2014

The following was posted on the Merchant Marine Wives page on FaceBook:

Hello ladies. I’m posting this with the Admin’s permission. Not MM related but as an MMW I am appreciative of the dads who are active in their children’s lives and who make an effort to help me out especially when my MM is at sea. In Girl Scouts we call these heroes Green Knights. On Nov. 13th my Girl Scout troop lost one of its Green Knights, a man with such a genuine heart and good spirit. They’d been with our troop for over 5 years and my heart breaks for the daughters and wife. When people ask me how I “do all that I do running a troop, etc., while my MM is away” I tell them I do it with people like Juan helping me. He will be truly missed. The family will be in a tight financial position soon–you can read the details on the memorial funds. There have been two set up with the knowledge of the family and verified as legitimate. The GoFundMe has the most momentum but they charge a 10% fee; the other does not. We’re just trying to get the word out to help this family. Thank you for your consideration. Please, as uncomfortable as it is, talk with your MM and have the discussion about insurance and plans. And don’t forget to tell them how much you love them and appreciate all that they sacrifice for those of us at home.

YouCaring Memorial Account

GoFundMe Memorial Account

Needless to say, I can relate. And it is not easy having “those” talks but it is so necessary. I do find having the discussion now in our 40s with the girls older and closer to being on their own is a different kind of conversation than one we’d have had a decade ago. Of course I didn’t think we’d need to make sure my medical needs were covered but there you go. We are not guaranteed our health nor tomorrow.

I understand that Thanksgiving Day is now “Brown Friday” followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and GIVING TUESDAY–please consider helping out this family.



The Realities of Life

June 26, 2013

I learned real early in my relationship with the Chief that one of my responsibilities would be to have to make the decision whether or not to tell him of the passing of a loved one. At least I got the choice. My MIL had to wait over three months to tell my FIL that her own mother had passed–it just wasn’t information you shared in a 70 word tel-ex. From that long fall day where I waited anxiously by the phone (I wrote a fictionalized account in Bad News Travels Slowly), in our 17+ years I have had to tell him of the passing of 6 of his own family members, 1 of mine, and a handful of close family friends … all over the phone.

This week heaven welcomed home one of the faithful. Probably one of the most genuine and kind and patient men you’d ever meet. He’d baptized more members of my family than not and he performed our wedding ceremony. T1 & T2 were blessed to be able to call him one of their Papas.

I got the word while on a trip with T2’s scout troop. My mother made the phone call. Then texts started coming in from T1 and my MIL. I have an old school, 2nd generation Kindle so if you’re familiar with that you know the “Experimental” web browser is exactly that and still hit-or-miss. I knew the Chief did not have the “cheap” Sat Phone … and as Papa was not a direct family I did not feel it would count as a justifiable call to the ship. I had e-mailed him as soon as he entered hospice so it wouldn’t be a surprise (but we visited days before the Chief shipped out because the Chief “knew”–this was the third time he went to “say good-bye”). I could barely get the Kindle to load recent FB posts, let alone let me launch AOL to e-mail him the news.

We were on our way to a show when I saw the ship’s number on my cell–my cue to call back. Being on hands-free speaker phone I had to ask the girls in the car to be quiet for a few minutes.

“Hi. I got a text from T1 and I wanted to make sure you knew.”

“She texted you? I’m sorry she had to be the one to tell you. My mom called and then I got the same texts. I didn’t think you could get texts and I was going to try to e-mail you tonight.”

“It’s a part of life and it’s a lesson she’ll never forget. I took the phone call about my Grandma Fern because no one was home. I was only 9 and I had to tell my parents.”

T1 was prepared to be a help when the news came–my in-laws will have much to do to help with the arrangements. She took a big step to take it upon herself to let us, her parents, know. It should have been the other way around. It just makes me sad that she is only 13 … I was 21 and about to get married before I had to tell the Chief of a loss over the phone. I signed on for the realities of “This Life” but the girls were born into it. Hopefully this will make the girls realize all the more the sacrifices the Chief makes for us.

I guess just like that long ago Fall day God knew our family needed to communicate … I probably would have been worrying and praying about how to share the news with him once the scouts were asleep and the Kindle frustrated me to no end. I was spared that and got to share a few minutes of mutual solace with the Chief.

My heart is sad but my soul rejoices for I know our friend is in a better place.


Too Connected…?

March 25, 2013

Without social media I am not sure I’d be picking up the phone trying to contact people to give them my condolences. First of all, I doubt I’d have the phone numbers. Besides, I hate the telephone. But social media causes all kinds of social etiquette questions and new situations. Think about how people are having to send “Sorry but you’re not invited” announcements for weddings and parties that are public knowledge because of social media.

For example, I have one friend who announced in church that a family member passed but did not mention it on FB. Mutual friends started posting condolences. What if the person didn’t want it to be so public? People certainly would not want to cause additional pain intentionally.

Someone else who had a baby did not want information about said baby on FB due to the nature of her job.

My heart is still aching for my friend and the loss of her daughter. It was right there on FB. Eventually when the grandmother said something, I sent my condolences to her as well. Here’s the deal and dilemma: this family is large and has several ex’s in several generations but all the children seem to still communicate. This loss will surely be felt by most. But I’ve hesitated sending condolences to those in the family I know mutually (and am FB friends with) because I don’t know if they know for one thing. Obviously I would not plaster their page with “I’m sorry for your loss” if they haven’t said anything but I still hesitate to send a private note. Because, second, while children may still have relationships that is no guarantee ex’s do or that they keep in touch with ex-steps. No one needs extra drama at this time of such tragic loss.

Certainly, social media has its merits for being able to reach out at a time of loss–or joy–but the etiquette rules are so blurry.

I think it would be safe to say one should “mind their own business” and just be there for the friend when the service is announced. Social media makes everything everyone’s business. While it can be the fastest way to get the word out and stay connected, it can be the fastest way to get the word out… if you know what I mean.

Just thoughts I’m pondering as I just wish I could do or say something more than I’m so sorry. My prayers for this family have been unending.

The other thought I keep thinking about is how we always tend to say all the wrong things and often the person suffering the loss ends up feeling like they have to comfort everyone else! I posted a quip about “hug your children no matter how old they are. we are not guaranteed tomorrow.” So many started asking me what was wrong. I did say an old friend lost a child too soon … much the same way I blogged on here. But it generated “Oh I’m so sorry” as if it was my loss. Certainly many said they would pray for this family and I think that is a wonderful bonus of social media. They certainly need our prayers.

But it wasn’t about me. I don’t need comforting–I found myself making sure I was saying my heart aches for her–because it is not my heart breaking for the loss of a child. I just wanted, out of that ache, to remind people to cherish their loved ones. Life is just too short.


Five-Minute Friday: Remember

March 22, 2013

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Remember that they are just children.

Remember that they have feelings too.

Remember that your grumpy mood impacts them … even if your aches and pains make you want to roll over and pull the blanket over your head.

Remember to say “I love you.”

Remember to show “I love you.”

Hold them today. Say you are sorry you were not in the best of moods this morning. Say “I love you.” Hold them so tight they groan “Moooommmmm! Let go!” Then squeeze again.

Remember that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

But remember to live life to the fullest, not in fear. Not in regret.

Remember to appreciate today.

Even if they roll their eyes, bite as if they are a toddler, or insist that you be semi-coherent first thing in the morning.

My grumpy mood could be the last words spoken (or in my case unspoken). What a regret that would be! 3 PM can’t get here fast enough.

I will hold tight. I will remember. I will try to do better.


I have so much more to write than just five minutes. But I have no words. Just heartache for an old friend who lost a child this morning. This child, only in her 20s, the mother of her own 1 year old … gone too soon. And not the mother’s first loss. Dear friend–you who have shown me so much courage in the face of so much tragedy, your strength, love, compassion, graciousness, such an example and uplifting spirit–dear friend, may God wrap you in His arms. May your babies be greeting each other in heaven today.

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