Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Something Nobody Wants to Talk About (Part 4) – Gig Line #310


By Marsha M. Brown

Since I last wrote ‘Part 3’ 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 and my LAST WILL & 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, it was a terminal, aggressive CA 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 life 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.

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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 Nurses Assistant class I took along with two other Dare County women back in the 80’s. 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 and 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 spital, 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, office: (252) 475-5604 or write to her at dcvac@darenc.com OR you are welcomed to call me, cell: (252) 202-2058 or email me: editor@giglineheroes.com and I will reach out to Patty for you.

Until next time…be healthy, safe, and happy…thank e-v-e-r-y 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.

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at editor@giglineheroes.com.  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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