Military Spouse Wellness Summit – Happily Ever After #MSWS16

military spouse wellness summit

Over our 28 years of marriage, Art and I have been separated quite a few times.  Not separated as in “legally separated”, but separated by circumstances.  Almost every year while he was in the Air Force Art had two or three week mission trips away.  In 1995 he was gone for six weeks to NCO Academy in Texas (he even missed Bud’s first birthday).

Then in 2012, Art went back to school, in Oregon.  The only problem was that we were living in California.  That time we were separated for three months – possibly the hardest three months of my life.

Fortunately, we have never been separated for extended periods of time as some military couples have.  One thing we learned during all those separations was how important it is to check in with each other as much as possible.  We always tried to maintain the closeness we feel when we are together, even though we were so many miles apart.

More recently, we’ve discovered how important it is to take care of ourselves individually.  By nurturing ourselves body and soul, we are better able to maintain a healthy relationship with each other.

Are you a military spouse who needs some support in finding your own well-being?

InDependent, Corie Weathers, and Armed Forces Insurance bring you the second annual Military Spouse Wellness Summit: Happily Ever After 2016.

Together InDependent and Corie have partnered to interview ten leaders in individual and relationship wellness. The event mission is to inspire spouses to achieve health and wellness independently in mind, body, and emotion and positively impact your military marriage. EVERY VIP REGISTERED participant receives a 1-year membership to Thrive Market (Retail Value $60) and a chance to win PRIZES from vendors like emeals, Elva Resa Publishing, Gaia, Green Chef , QALO rings, R.Riveter, Zest Tea, ZZZBears and many more.

The Summit begins Monday, October 17 and ends Friday, October 22 with a bonus day on Saturday when we announce our big grand-prize winner donated by Military Benefit Association!

Listen online! Join us while on a walk enjoying the fall weather or tearing it up at the gym. For our General Admission participants, the recordings will available during the week of the event (Oct. 17-23). VIP participants will be able to download all recordings after the summit for unlimited use.

Use discount code “EarlyBird” for $12 off VIP admission if you register before October 1!!

Registration is now open!! Won’t you join me?

Hearing My Daddy’s Voice

hearing daddy's voice

A few months ago the California Highway Patrol got in touch with me.  I was told that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Academy Museum in Sacramento had updated their display devoted to the Newhall Incident, in which my daddy and three other officers lost their lives (see my review of Brandishing for the background on this).  The CHP wondered if my family would like to attend the dedication, tour the museum and maybe even donate some memorabilia.

I don’t have much memorabilia from that time, so I didn’t want to give anything up.  I forwarded the email to my mom and brother.  I also wasn’t interested in attending the event.  I knew it would be very emotional and I wasn’t sure I could handle it.

A couple of weeks before the event, I got a message from my Uncle Bob (my daddy’s brother).  He had also been invited to the event and wanted to know if I would be attending.  I told him I would go if he was going.  Then my brother messaged me and said he was also attending.  He was sending an RSVP at that moment.  I asked him to add Art and I to the guest list.  I decided with that much family support, I should go.

When we arrived at the Academy the morning of the event, I found out that it was an annual memorial service for all fallen CHP officers.  We got there early so Uncle Bob took us through the exhibit before the ceremony began ( he had toured it the night before).

At the “entrance” to the exhibit, there were two pillars,  each with photos of the fallen four officers and their bios.

hearing daddy's voice
Me with my daddy’s bio

Along the walls was a timeline of the incident:

hearing daddy's voice

There was a video playing on a loop.  It explained the incident and interviewed one of the widows as well as some of the people who had arrived on the scene afterward.  My uncle leaned over and whispered, “When you hear an officer’s voice come over the radio, that’s your Daddy Skip.”  The voice yelled “shots fired” and I instantly knew.  Even though I hadn’t heard his voice since I was three years old.  I was hearing my daddy’s voice.  It was a blend of my uncle and my brother.  I wanted to sit on the bench in front of the video and listen to it over and over, just so I could hear his voice again.

I pulled myself together so we could take our seats at the memorial ceremony.  I had never been to one before.  It was very special.  The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general were there.  There were speeches and beautiful music. The names of every fallen officer were read.  There was a 21 gun salute and CHP helicopters flew over in formation.

Around the fountain in the courtyard of the Academy, there is a brass plaque for each fallen officer.  At the end of the ceremony, each of us who had a fallen loved one was given a rose to put on that person’s plaque.  One of the four officers from the Newhall incident had no loved ones present, so we made sure his plaque got a rose as well.

hearing daddy's voice

I stood next to Nikki Frago, the Newhall widow in attendance.  Obviously it was a very emotional time for her as well.  She didn’t have any family with her, so I took her hand for a few minutes.

hearing daddy's voice

A little bit later, we walked through the exhibit again and spoke to some of the retired CHP officers.  It was a very emotional day, but I am so glad I went.  It felt good to pay tribute to my daddy and the other officers.  It was nice to know they will not be forgotten.

My brother Jay, his wife Jennie, me and Uncle Bob
My brother Jay, his wife Jennie, me and Uncle Bob