September 19, 2017

Powerful Medicine

We are pleased to introduce you to author Jerilyn Marler. Jerilyn has a special attachment to the Military and has written a terrific book addressing the concept of separation anxiety experienced by so many families. Her book, Lily Hates Goodbyes, touches on the emotions children have faced and illustrates several ways of coping. She wrote this book for her grand daughter. Don’t we all wish we had someone who would write such a special book for us? Well, she did, and it’s here!

Guest Blog by Jerilyn Marler

What is the value of a heart-to-heart connection between child and parent? We all agree it’s priceless. Now consider how beyond priceless that connection is when the child and parent are oceans apart. The United Through Reading Military Program delivers those connections daily.

Scott (my son) and Amanda learned about the United Through Reading Program during a pre-deployment preparedness meeting. They took Lily, their four-year-old daughter, to a used bookstore and together they selected six books. During the deployment, Scott sent home three DVDs, each with two videos of Daddy reading a story to Lily. You can imagine the happy dancing and excitement for Amanda and Lily when each DVD arrived. They would sit together and watch and listen—drinking in the sight and sound of the man they love so dearly and who was so dreadfully far away.

When Lily met her Dad at the pier, she had no qualms about jumping into his arms. Seeing him read to her while he was gone helped to prepare her.

“Hi, Lily. It’s your Daddy. Do you remember me?” Scott said at the beginning of one DVD. “Yes! Hi Daddy!” Lily said, bouncing on the couch. She would often talk to the television Daddy, answering questions posed in the story and commenting on the illustrations. The interaction was immediate and real to her. That’s incredibly powerful medicine for a little heart that is swamped with sadness because Daddy is away.

Once the book reading was done, Scott used available recording time to simply talk to Amanda and Lily. He shared what he could about his life aboard ship, talked about how much he missed them both, and described his anticipation of being together again. That’s powerful medicine for a wife who is aching with loneliness for her husband. On one of my visits with Lily and Amanda, I got to watch the DVDs with Lily. Lily buzzed around the living room, wired with excitement to see and hear Daddy again. I was filled with pride and love. That’s powerful medicine for a mom who is missing her son.

Every time Scott had to leave—even for relatively short trips as the ship prepared for an upcoming long deployment—Lily’s pain was palpable. I lived through separation grief as a child, so it was with a highly personal awareness that I sought to help Lily cope. I wrote Lily Hates Goodbyes especially for her. I decided to make it public after I saw how much it helped my darling granddaughter. Shortly after Scott’s long deployment began, I published Lily Hates Goodbyes on I want all young military children to receive the reassurance and validation and hope of Lily’s story.

I was thrilled when two representatives of the United Through Reading Military Program contacted me shortly after publication: one for the program specific to my son’s ship, the USS MOMSEN, and one for the national program. They asked to include my book in their reading lists. My answer: “LetmethinkaboutitYES!” Accompanied by a happy dance. I’m so honored that my book is part of this superb program.

I recently asked Lily what was the best part about the DVDs. “Seeing Daddy!” she said with certainty. “Oh, and hearing him! Seeing him and hearing him.” Powerful medicine, indeed.

Author Jerilyn Marler with her granddaughter, Lily, the inspiration for Lily Hates Goodbyes.


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On Facebook: Lily-Hates-Goodbyes