Tag Archives: friends and family


susanjerusalemI’ve lost three best friends now. Three people that I told my deepest, darkest secrets. Three people that loved me warts and all. Three people that had my back. Three people that would tell me the truth when I desperately needed to hear it.  Nobody should have to lose three best friends:  one to a motorcycle accident, one to breast cancer and one to complications of Crohn’s Disease.

I haven’t cried yet. I know it’s coming.  And it will be a storm.  But not yet.  I haven’t had time.  Lord, I’m going to miss her. This best friend was 22 years in the making.  I’m going to miss her.


Filed under August 2016

Photos and Memories


Deck at Beech Fork

I dumped the camera memory today and stumbled across this photo. It’s of the deck that Susan and I looked at, stood on , sat on, walked across and contemplated that last day together at the Beech Fork cabin. It was our last real conversation and it was real. We talked of all manner of things not the least of which was our friendship and how the years have treated us.

I will miss her. This photo seems poignant to me, but I don’t quite know why.


Filed under August 2016

Susan G. Jackson, Ph.D.


Susan Grace Jackson, Ph.D., died August 13, 2016 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. She was a Professor in the School of Art & Design at Marshall University where she taught art appreciation and art history.  Over a career of 31 years, she touched the lives of thousands of students.  As news of her death spread, her Facebook page began filling with testimonials from students and colleagues.  These testimonials share a common theme – Dr. Jackson is remembered as a mentor who had a profound impact on both academic and personal lives.  Her colleagues talk of her formidable intellect and keen wit.  Her students remember her as a demanding professor who challenged them to think critically and live fully.  Many remark on her exuberant laughter.

Susan was a staunch feminist. During her career at Marshall University, she chaired the Women’s Studies Committee as well as served as the Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program. She felt it her duty and her honor to help women find their voices and their power.  In her personal life, she hosted gatherings at her home to encourage and mentor women.  These Sisterings are remembered fondly by all who were able to attend.

Susan began her academic career with a B.A. in English Literature earned on a voice scholarship after graduating from Portsmouth West High School in 1976. She went on to get a Master of Arts in Theatre History and Criticism and her doctorate in Comparative Arts.  All of her degrees were earned at Ohio University. She did her dissertation research in East and West Germany.  She did post-doctoral work at the University of Dayton’s International Marian Research Institute. In addition to her work with women, Susan served on many committees at the university.  She took her position as a member of the Marshall University Faculty seriously and was relied upon to do a great job at any task she was given.

In her personal life, Susan was a faithful friend, an accomplished cook and a voracious reader. Her email tagline was a Shakespeare quote:  “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly.”  Her friends and her family feel her loss keenly, but are thankful that her death was quick and peaceful.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Dean and Ethel Grace Jackson. She is survived by her sister, Carol Jackson, and her brothers, Edwin (Sandy) Jackson and Timothy (Lynn) Jackson, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Friends and classmates of Dr. Jackson have established a memorial fund to promote the advancement of the fine arts through education in public schools.  Donations may be made on-line at www.gofundme.com/susanjackson or by mail to Washington-Nile Local Schools, 15332 US Highway 52, West Portsmouth OH 45663.

Visitation will be held at the Reger Funeral Chapel, 1242 Adams Avenue, Huntington, WV 25704 on Wednesday, August 17th, from 5 to 7 pm.  A memorial service will then be held at 7 p.m.


Filed under August 2016

Feeling Mortal

Today I admitted my best friend to the hospital with kidney failure.

It was an exciting weekend and I’m emotionally exhausted. She’s in critical condition.  I may lose her.

Last night, she was confused, but we spent the evening talking about life and love and family and last wishes. If she does die, I know what she wants.

I’ve been blessed with great loves and good friends. Life has been good to me.


Filed under August 2016

Book It, Dan-O

doug and me grass hutI’m taking my mother to Hawaii for Mother’s Day, 2017.  Specifically, we’re going to Oahu for a week and Maui for a week.

We used to live on Kaneohe Air Station, Oahu, so part of the trip will be nostalgic.  We’ve been told for years that modern Oahu will break our hearts; hence the Maui trip.  Maui is reputed to be the Hawaii that we will remember.

I’m overwhelmed trying to plan this trip. It’s going to cost SO FREAKING MUCH that I don’t want to make any mistakes or leave anything out or have anything less than perfect.  We’ve started planning 10 months out and I’m finding that is not far enough.  I should have started this six months ago.

On Oahu, I plan to visit the Pagoda Restaurant, Ala Moana Shopping Center, and the International Market Place. We want to go on base and see our old house.  We want to see if we can find where our church used to be.  And we want to visit the beaches of our memories – tropical paradises that we didn’t think twice about.

For Maui, I want to snorkel and see Haleakala and the Road to Hana. I want pristine beaches and waterfalls.  I want to lay on the beach and breathe in the scent that is Hawaii – a combination of ocean, flowers, mildew and pineapple – it’s a very distinctive smell.

I can’t wait to go.  It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime.  I have about decided to hire a travel agent to make sure it all goes well.  We’ll see.

But today we booked the hotel for Maui, so we’ve started. Kahana Village Resort here we come!


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Filed under July 2016

Spencer and Erica

spencer and ericaI just got home from a family wedding in Tecumseh, Michigan.

My first-cousin’s son married the love of his life. Spencer and Erica’s wedding was just as sweet and special as they are.  I was overwhelmed several times throughout the day by the knowledge that I have a large extended family.

I was raised a military brat and don’t remember meeting any of my extended family until I was 10. I had met them before but, I was just too young to remember.  At, 10 I was overrun with cousins and aunts and uncles and it was all wonderful.  After we returned from Hawaii, we spent a part of each year in Michigan with the aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, but as time went by that once a year stopped.  Pity that.

I don’t get to see these people often due to geography. It’s a sad state of affairs when the matter of a 7-hour car drive keeps people apart, but we’re all so busy with full lives.

The wedding was outdoors at my cousin Kathy’s and her husband, Joe’s, house. What a beautiful, beautiful setting for the ceremony.  It was truly gorgeous.  I feel like I witnessed some magical – Spencer and Erica will be a love story for the ages.

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Filed under July 2016

Life Goes On

daddies liliesDoug has been dead for 3 some years and my dad for some 4 months.  I’m still here trying to live without the two of the most important men of my life.  Both of them loved me unconditionally.

I have been fortunate.

I planted 15 lilies in memory of my dad – 13 for his men in Vietnam that he lost in that terrible battle and 1 for Marybelle’s father and 1 for him. They are blooming and the scent is spectacular as are the flowers.  They’re way ahead of schedule and over-achievers – much like my dad.

I’m learning to live without Doug – my constant cheerleader. If we’re lucky, we all have that one person who cheers us on and motivates us to do our best.  I had two – my dad and Doug.  I miss them both so much.


Filed under July 2016