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Introducing Michele Marcum

Introducing Michele Marcum Michele Hiester Marcum I am Michele.  And I am a survivor.  My story mirrors that of every other TAPS survivor.  The plot is the same, the ending ultimately identical, the tone oppressing.  And there is no "happily ever after." Someone I love died, and I'm writing my way through the grief and tears in the hope that healing sneaks its way in. I became a bona fide TAPS card-carrying member after my brother, MSGT Michael T. Hiester, encountered a landmine near Kabul, A

Coping with Guilt

Coping with Guilt Michele Hiester Marcum We are coming up on the ten-year anniversary of my brother's death, and I simply cannot believe it's been that long. Seriously, where did the time go? And who the heck am I now? A decade of rolling emotions have reshaped me into someone else…and I haven't yet decided whether I like her. I remember learning in my college psychology classes that there were only six basic emotions in the human population: anger, disgust, sadness, fear, surprise, and happine

Happy Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving? Michele Hiester Marcum Ever notice how holiday greetings begin with “happy”? Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! And whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, they, too, are paired with “Happy” and “Merry”. Even ordinary days like Friday become Happy Friday! It seems everyone is full of cheer. Back in the 80s, Bobby McFerrin had a song advising us, Don’t Worry… Be Happy, and just this last year, Pharrell Williams released a ditty dedicated to (and approp


HOLLOW-WEEN Michele Hiester Marcum It’s that spook-tacular time of year, with all things creepy and frightening lurking in the shadows and lunging from television ads as you mindlessly surf channels, looking for something worthy of your time and energy. And, quite frankly, I absolutely hate it. At one point in my life, it was an exciting challenge to see who could unmercifully scare whom, and it was doubly entertaining if someone cried or at least wet their pants. But that was long before I u

Pure Gold

Pure Gold Michele Hiester Marcum As a child, I loved the rambunctious revelry of Christmas, with its brilliant lights, mammoth toy catalogs, never-ending wish lists and long days of cookie baking and candy making. I loved the noise and commotion and the belief in Santa, who reigned in not only his reindeer, but over the whole world, it seemed.  As an adult, however, I love the rich history and familiar traditions that accompany the Christmas season, begging my spirit to calm itself in the qui


Ten Michele Hiester Marcum Good things come in tens. Bowling pins, crab legs, athletic conferences, the fingers and toes of a newborn. My birthday falls in the tenth month of the year, the New Year’s countdown in Times Square begins at ten, and the tenth anniversary of most anything is a reason to celebrate. Unless…  A decade. Ten very long years that have seemingly whizzed by on dragging feet since my brother left this earth. Basic math tells me there are 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Michele Hiester Marcum And here we are almost to Memorial Day again.  Heavy sigh.  Sad heart. This is the 9th one we've "celebrated" since my brother left this earth, and it seems impossible that it's been that long.  But I know it's right, because I just counted them out on my fingers!  Before I know it, I'll need more than two hands to tick off the quickening years.  So much has changed and yet nothing has changed at all.  It's a perplexing paradox to be caught between the past an

Always the Atlantic

Always the Atlantic Michele Hiester Marcum I have always loved the ocean.  I love the mysterious life that teems below her surface and the sandy beaches she hugs.  I crave the sunshine that never strays too far from her expanse.  I am intrigued by the abrupt changes in her direction and the intensity with which she approaches the shoreline.  Sometimes she drifts in with an unexpected tranquility, carrying with her all sorts of treasures to be discovered.  And sometimes she lumbers in, hulkish me

Happy Birthday Dear Brother, Happy Bir...

Happy Birthday Dear Brother, Happy Bir... Michele Hiester Marcum Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday, dear brother!  Happy Bir… Oh wait.  Am I supposed to be celebrating your birthday?  Do the angels throw parties in heaven like we do on Earth?  Is anyone up there worrying whether the cake is white or chocolate?  Or if the frosting is buttercream or whipped? Hmmm… the multitude of questions one ponders when there are no answers!  I think if I had read this blog ten

I Wish

I Wish Michele Hiester Marcum Once upon a time, I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I did. My life was more predictable than not, and with all the wisdom of my youth, I just knew that I could handle any roadblock I encountered… all by myself. Independence is a good thing, right?  All that changed on a chilly, sunny day in March of 2005. That’s the day I received the call that many of you have experienced. Someone you love isn’t coming home. Looking back on that time in my life, ther

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Michele Hiester Marcum School’s out!  School’s out! Teachers let the monkeys out! I remember many years ago, when that sing-song sentiment ushered in Memorial Day Weekend each year. Ahhh… the start of summer!  Late nights splashing in backyard pools, slurping watermelon, and chasing lightning bugs, followed by lazy mornings spent sleeping in. Memorial Day meant a parade of flag-waving politicians and patriotic band kids, marching from downtown all the way to the cemetery. Some guy


Thanksgiving Michele Hiester Marcum Well, this will be our eighth Thanksgiving without my brother, and I just really can’t believe it’s been that long! Have we really gathered together over eight different turkeys…watched eight seasons of holiday football…braved eight Black Fridays of shopping nonsense since he left this Earth? I remember when I was counting moments and then mere hours, waiting for the agonizing grief to subside. Somewhere along that timeline, the hours stretched to days, then m