The BRAVE Interview #9 April 2017: Charlotte

Please enjoy this month’s BRAVE interview with Charlotte!

Who are you? I am a Registered Nurse, a Mom to 3 adult children (where has time gone?!), and a 5 month Golden Retriever named Charlie. I was born and raised in Maine, and have lived here ever since. I live in the small town of Limerick, Maine, a quiet country town.

What is your ‘one brave thing’? My One Brave Thing?  Let’s see. I have done a few brave things up to this point in my life, but the one I’d have to say that tops all was taking care of my terminally ill brother. He was 51 yrs old when diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, mets to the brain. His wish was to get home to Maine to die. I had no choice but to be brave, and honor is wishes. It was a very difficult, emotional time.

When did you do it?  In June 2007, my brother called me from the hospital in Florida, telling me he was very sick and needed me to fly down to help him.

Where did it occur? Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

How I made it happen: flew down, packed up his apartment.  I rented an RV, and found portable oxygen, filled his meds and things for the trip. Right out of the hospital, we were on our way home to my house. It was a rough ride in the back of an RV. I stayed back there with him, while my fiancé and my brother’s friend took turns driving. I wasn’t sure my brother would make it all the way, but he said he was okay each time I asked. I had spoken with hospice while traveling, and I got things set up for when he arrived. My bother lived only 5 days here, but made it to where he wanted to be, and that was home!

It is an honor to print your story, Charlotte, and I thank you so much for sharing it with us all!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here:

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at!

Hello from Heaven


Big Nana with her great-granddaughter Ariana in her kitchen in Nantasket

As I recently wrote, my son moved into his new apartment. Apartments, as we all know, usually need furniture. As a mother, I want to (over) help him with this. When I got my first apartment, my mother and my grandmother went to great lengths to make sure I had everything I might need or want, opening their cupboards, closets, drawers, and wallets to help me get things I didn’t even know I would need. I always knew that I would do the same for my own children one day.

The current need for my son’s apartment is for a kitchen table and chairs. I remembered my grandmother’s kitchen table has been stored at my brother’s house for years. I checked to make sure it was still there and usable. My brother determined (after some digging) that it was.
I started thinking of how my grandmother, Big Nana, spent most of her life helping her family. She has been dead since 2004, but she is still helping her family all these years after her death. Because now her kitchen table and chairs, at which we ate so many wonderful, lovingly prepared meals, will now serve my son and his girlfriend.

And here is the biggest gift of all: when my brother was looking for the chairs, he found a photo Nana, as well as some of my mother and father that I have never seen before.

It feels like they are all saying ‘Hello’ to us from heaven tonight, and letting us know that they are still watching over us and taking care of us, even though they are not here physically with us anymore.

What a wonderful start to 2017.

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Endings and beginnings

box-truckThe new year is already promising to be a very different one from those prior.

My firstborn is moving out and getting his own apartment. I am happy and excited for him.

I am also sad that he is no longer living here. I am still checking the driveway to make sure he is home safe at night, and he moved out almost a week ago. This new feeling that I’m experiencing–I’ve dubbed it HappySad.

I flash back on my own first leave-taking from my family of origin. My mother tearing up. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I’m afraid I’m never gonna see you.” I reassured her that of course she would still see me. I would come by all the time. I’d call. She just looked at me with those eyes that knew the truth, even as I ‘doth proclaim too much’.
She was right,  of course. I rarely went over. I eventually started calling her once a week because I felt obligated, not out of a true desire to speak to her. I loved my mother, so it wasn’t about that. I don’t know what it was about, to tell you the truth. I just moved out and I didn’t look back (until I had to move back, but that’s another, sadder story).

I was free!

So, as I watched my son excitedly packing up for his move to his first apartment, part of me was channeling my own mother, feeling her exact emotions, I am sure. “I’m never going to see him now,” I thought.

What goes around, comes around.



BOOK REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I read this book at the recommendation of a young lady, Angie, who visited my author table at the Kennebunk Community Market one Saturday.
everything-everythingShe told me that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was her favorite book. This book says it’s recommended for readers aged 12-17, but I object to narrowing the audience for this book. Anyone of any age could enjoy reading this.

The main character, Maddy, is physically isolated in a way few teenagers are. She is a prisoner on so many levels. This book is not predictable, however. There are surprises to keep your interest.

I had a problem with the nurse, Carla, whom I loved, but she compromised her professional ethics, therefore (in my opinion as a nurse) she deserved what she got.

But it still made me sad. I also didn’t like how the author portrays the other nurse in the book. Don’t even get me started. People! Don’t believe most of the characterizations of nurses you read in books!

Maddy is very lovable until she starts lying to everyone (including herself?) which made me like her much less. Is it acceptable to lie when you believe you are running for your life? I’m not sure. Read it and make up your own mind.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I am in the world and, too, the world is in me.” -Maddy

“Empty tummy, empty head.” -Carla.

“Be brave. Remember, life is a gift. Live it.” Carla the nurse to Maddy, Disc 3 track 13 on the audio book.

Bottom line: worth reading.

MOVIE REVIEW: Bridget Jones’ Baby

My husband was hoping for a quiet house the other night, so I obliged him by going to the movies.


I’ve seen and enjoyed the two prior Bridget Jones movies, so I was looking forward to this one. And it was great! Except for one thing.*


  1. I loved all the characters, the returning ones and the new ones (especially Miranda, Bridget’s new BFF).
  2. This movie is FUNNY! I laughed out loud unexpectedly several times.
  3. I went by myself, so no one was elbowing me in the ribs, saying, “Mom! Stop! Stop laughing so loud!”
  4. There were many sweet, moving moments, that had me tearing up without warning. (Note to self: You are spending way too much time alone in tears this week.)
  5. There were so many great songs in this movie! Check out #9 on the list by Lily Allen. Whoa!
  6. Emma Thompson was perfect as the obstetrician who never makes eye contact with her patient. strangely, she delivered the baby with no staff. Hello? Everyone knows it’s the nurses who deliver the babies!

So my recommendation is this: If you want to see this movie, go see it! Lukewarm reviews be damned! Don’t bother trying to bring any kill-joys with you who don’t share your Bridget enthusiasm. Go by yourself. Get your popcorn the way you want it (no extra butter!). Smuggle in your bottle of water in your pocket. Live a little (the scene where Patrick Dempsey strips off his shirt to dive into the pool is worth the price of admission, even after you factor in the aforementioned popcorn).

Also, pay attention to the end. There is a set up for a possible fourth Bridget Jones movie. Can I get a ‘Hell, yeah!’ for this?

Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure:


**Rene Zellweger’s (presumed) facial surgery was a bit distracting, but this is the only not-positive thing I have to say (#disappointed).

Perspective Part 1

I have never bought People magazine before, but I picked up a copy last week, just for something different to read.

dempsey-people-magOkay, I bought it because Patrick Dempsey was on the cover. I’m volunteering at The Dempsey Challenge again this year and so I was interested in the article.

Anyway, there was another article about the children of parents who died during the 911 attacks, children who were in utero then and never got to meet their parent. Reading these stories was heartbreaking, but it also made me think about how insignificant what I had been worrying about before I began reading really was.



Recently my husband wanted to see the movie Creed.  I had zero interest in watching it. I expected he knew that and that he would be watching it alone.

Somehow, though, we ended up watching it together.

I didn’t expect to like it, but guess what! I really did!

I thought it was a movie about fighting, violent and bloody. And it was, sort of. But it was also a sweet love story. I liked it so much!

My husband said, “You’ve never seen the first Rocky movie? Or any of them?” and I said, “Duh. No.” He suggested getting Rocky  and Rocky Balboa from the library, so I ordered them, but without much enthusiasm. What were the odds that I would like those movies too? Why not quit while I was ahead?
Anyway, after I picked them up, they sat for 2 weeks before a freak rainstorm washed out our beach plans and we decided to have the Rocky Movie night. (Yay)



Here’s the thing: I loved the movies. Both of them. And it wasn’t just because of the love stories (Yo, Adrian!). It was because of the character Rocky. OMG. The more I got to know him, the more I loved him.

So, of course it’s partly due to the whole ‘he’s Italian’ thing. But, I never thought he was good-looking or anything when I (and he) was young(er). It was about who he (the character) was in the movie. His kindness. His caring. His awkward attempts to show these wonderful characteristics to others, many of whom weren’t interested at all in his overtures. Not one bit. But he perseveres. Not because who they are, but because of who he is.

And it got me. So, you know. That’s why I was crying at the end of Rocky Balboa.


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