Friday, May 22, 2009

Visiting Dad

Prior to moving to North Carolina, I would spend my Memorial Day weekend traveling all over the bay area from one cemetery to the other. I would decorate the graves of relatives with flowers and flags, contemplate the significance of the day and appreciate what each of these people meant to me.

Visiting my dad’s grave is always particularly hard. I missed so much time with him when I was young- then he was taken from this world before either of us had a chance to make up time.

I would take my son with me- graveyard hopping… and we always noticed that many of the departed did not receive flowers or have their weeds pulled on a regular basis. We would walk around and read all the headstones –wondering about the lives snuffed out too soon and those who made the centennial and received their shout out from Willard Scott.

My son learned to appreciate the significance of Memorial Day with me- and his first year as a U.S. Marine he was one of several that participated in the “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington-placing a flag and saluting hundreds of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen.

I was proud of him and glad he was able to carry on our tradition, on a grander scale.

I have not visited my dad’s grave since my return to California. I think I’m the only one in my family that visits him. I’ll go this weekend. Maybe my son will take a ride with me and place a flag on Papa Charlie’s grave- a nod from one veteran to another- grandson to grandfather. I think it will mean more to both of us this year.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Keeping the Blues at Bay

Every day I tell myself I will write something. Lately though, I have been stressed about no job and no money and writing has become a futile chore. My sister mentioned something about hardship making me a better writer… until I reminded her, I have probably had enough hardship for two lives already- no more needed to humble me or teach me about suffering.

So yesterday- when I was fairly depressed but trying to put one foot in front of the other with my job search, cover letters and tailored resumes, I heard my i-phone beep signaling an email.

I have 4 email accounts tied to my i-phone and the account it came to is the one tied to my website, blog and book sales as well as my job search efforts. I hoped for a job or a book sale.

Instead, it was the boot in the ass I needed. An email from a perfect stranger. She told me she loved my story Please Tie Your Shoes in “our” book and she wanted to encourage my writing- that I had an “awesome way with words.” She especially liked The Dragon Slayer's Mother. Wow… I quickly grabbed my copy of Cup of Comfort for Military Families and looked up her name. I read her story, which was well written and heartwarming. I went to her website which touted her many publications and suddenly I felt hopeful. Liz, the mother of a Marine and writer was encouraging me- and I soaked it up. I actually cried.

I do have good friends and family that encourage my writing- and I appreciate that more than they probably realize. But encouragement from a stranger and published author of numerous stories and articles was what I needed. No bias. She didn’t know my story and the only thing we really had in common was we are both mothers of Marines and we are both writers.

Liz’s website is
If you have a copy of Cup of Comfort for Military Families-, her story is A (Nearly) Perfect Christmas

I’m still broke and jobless. But I am hopeful that one day soon things will turn around.