Monday, August 6, 2018

#GiveBackGetInvolved: 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk

Yesterday, my fabulous husband Jonathan and I participated in the Chicago Lymphoma Walk hosted by the Lymphoma Research Foundation. I am a Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor and have been in remission and cancer-free for ten years as of January! This was my third year participating in the walk, which takes place annually in eight U.S. cities, and I would like to thank everyone who donated and contributed to this wonderful event. I am so grateful to be here!:

With Jonathan at the 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk.

With fellow survivors at the 2018 Chicago Lymphoma Walk.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Ghost Story #5: My Dad in My Home

While I was writing Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State, my Uncle Bernie sent me more than 30 stories from throughout his life in the form of hand-written letters. After Maryland Ghosts was first published in 2012, and featured most of his Maryland stories, we turned his remaining letters into an unpublished collection to share with family and friends called The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life. Here is another one of my favorite stories from that collection:

Potomac, Maryland (Montgomery County), 1988

I had a major immune system breakdown on April 22, 1988. The challenge had attacked my liver, spleen, gall bladder, and stomach. I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, hemochromatosis of the liver, and fibromyalgia, which created extreme chronic pain and fatigue.

I literally lived in the library of my home for almost seven months. I could barely walk, could not take the stairs to my master bedroom, could not drive a vehicle, and was told by 12 of my 16 doctors that I was dying.
            
My first marriage had become estranged, and had already been a challenge for 14 years. So I was left to take care of myself, cook my own meals, and care for our seven-year-old daughter, Kristen.
            
The situation was overwhelming at best, plus I had employees with Prudential I was trying to manage by phone, mail, and through personal visits to my home. This went on until the summer of 1990!
            
One night in May 1988 at approximately 11 p.m., I was preparing to go to bed on the library sofa. One of our dogs, a Yorkie named Tasha who never left my side, was with me.
            
My father appeared to me in a mist above my favorite rocking chair, which I still have. I was not on medication at that time, I promise, and my first thought was actually, "Well, now I'm also losing my mind!" But when Tasha reacted to my father's appearance—she jumped up on my lap, her ears standing straight up, clearly also seeing what I was seeing—I took the moment more seriously.
            
I heard my father say, not out loud but almost inside my head, "Don't worry. Everything will be alright." Then Tasha whimpered a little. After a moment, my father vanished with the mist around him, and Tasha settled down.
            
Tasha died later that summer, while on that same sofa bed in the library. She must have known something was wrong with her, as she jumped up to me and died in my arms. I buried her in the backyard, near the woods. May she and Dad both rest in peace.
–B.W.M.

"My Dad in My Home," copyright 2018 Bernard W. Masino and Amelia Cotter (first appeared in The Haunted Letters: True Tales from a Ghost-Storied Life, 2013)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Haiku #8: her first

In memory of the ones we’ve lost, great and small, recently or long ago:

her first
shoebox funeral
midsummer sun

"her first," copyright 2018 Amelia Cotter (first published in Now This: Contemporary Poems of Beginnings, Renewals, and Firsts, 2013)