I was raised by my Grandmother and my Mom/Dad/Provider/Handyman/Fishing Buddy. When women’s rights became a newsworthy issue, many men I knew grumbled and made bad jokes. I shrugged. A woman having authority and power, doing what needed to be done, was nothing new to me. I was raised by a liberated woman. A woman liberated by necessity, not society. I am 63 years old. My Mom died Oct. 26, 2018 at the young age of 83. My father was never a part of my life. A victim himself of the Korean War, he was intermittently violent and abusive. Today he probably would have been diagnosed with PTSD. Fearing for my life more than her own, my Mom left him before I was born. When I was born in 1955 my Mom was working for Dairy Queen, making fifty cents an hour. Even in 1955 that wasn’t much. No one born in the last fifty years can know what it was like to be a woman alone in 1955. Even just being a woman alone, especially with a child, was looked at with suspicion, or pity. My Mom was … [Read more...] about ‘Lucille Sanderfer helped build the world you live in’: A tribute to my mom
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With hammer and nail in hand, Marc Burrows trudged through a wooded area near a gas station and a motel off South Pleasantburg Drive. Man-made paths through the brush have formed from years of use by transients and others coming to get high in the secluded place. Burrows has met people there to give them a syringe or dose of naloxone. Other times, he has set up a folding table out of his trunk to offer passersby clean needles. He's been doing the needle exchange and naloxone distribution for about a year through his organization Challenges Inc., but the concept of leaving behind a syringe and vial of naloxone in a public place is new. More: Amid Upstate's opioid epidemic, people with addiction struggle to find safe recovery homes While hundreds of South Carolinians die of drug overdoses each year, naloxone has become one piece in the fight against an opioid epidemic, a tool stakeholders are using to save lives and point those suffering from … [Read more...] about Opioid crisis: Why a syringe hangs from a tree in Greenville
When Ben Waddell was born, doctors knew there was something different about him. But it was eight months before they discovered he was suffering from a rare genetic condition that would leave him unable to speak or walk or even eat on his own. His devastated parents saw all the hopes and dreams they had for their baby boy dissolve into a world of round-the-clock care, frequent hospitalizations for near-fatal illnesses, and an array of buzzing machines that help keep him alive. Each morning, Bennie Waddell lifts his 62-pound son, now 19, from his bed to his wheelchair. He hooks the line from the feeding machine to a tube in his belly and connects him to a suction device that helps him breathe. Since Ben was brought home from the hospital, it's been like this. His parents have been his caregivers, and his connection to the many doctors who treat him. But when Ben turned 18, things changed. The Waddells needed help obtaining legal … [Read more...] about At 18, Ben Waddell needed his parents, and they needed a legal lifeline. Then an ‘MLP’ helped out.
Those of us left on the homefront may want to just get the holidays over with. But even amid the loneliness, there will be memories worth making. I watched Toyota’s new “Home for the Holidays” commercial recently with mixed emotions. The beautiful 100-second video follows an excited young boy preparing for his military dad’s homecoming. The spot ends with father and son running into each other’s arms in a snow-covered winter wonderland and the line: "Let’s bring everyone closer this holiday." This commercial, and many other ones like it that run throughout the holiday season, are deeply moving. Heartwarming feelings of gratitude might cause us to shed a tear (or several), and even share the story with family and friends. This is how we like to picture service members and families during the holidays — reunited at last! However, there’s one group of people I know who might shed a tear watching this same spot for a different … [Read more...] about I was a military spouse on my own at Christmas. It was painful but also special.
As a caregiver of a catastrophically disabled veteran, I'm in a lifelong battle to support my husband. Too often, the VA forces me into battle alone. Eight years ago, my husband stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He lost his left leg and much of his left arm, and barely survived. Mike's war was over. But mine would be fought on the home front. I was going to have to battle for him. Sometimes that battle takes place in the hospital, as I help my husband through another surgery — 119 and counting. Sometimes it's in our home, as I try to juggle three young kids, a plumbing issue and a health care bill, all while trying not to burn dinner. Caregivers like me are supporting catastrophically wounded veterans all over the country. All too often, we're carrying out that mission alone, with insufficient help from the very government that sent our husbands, wives, sons and daughters off to war. My husband proudly volunteered to serve … [Read more...] about My husband lost a limb in Afghanistan. Now, as his caregiver, I’m on the front lines.