Slice of Life 18: Support Systems

(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)  Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .


Exactly how big are the roots that are needed for a healthy tree?

Of course, it will depend on the tree.  What about this image?  The “invisible to the eye” root system of the tree is bigger than the visible part of the tree.  Is that possible in other “root” or “support” systems?

How big is the “support system” or root of a family with a member deployed overseas?

It’s huge!  And the sole purpose of this post is to say:


In our family, the system is amazing.  Everyone that attended Evan’s wedding last year is a part of that support system.  From the quilts (Aunts Pat Mary and Grandma) to the Kolaches (Aunt Mary again) and even Grandma Twilah who pitched a hand to help out!  The little kids were entertaining at the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, reception and dance!  What a celebration to begin a new life as a couple!

While deployed, there were boxes, cards and thoughtful remembrances that kept the family tree standing despite the distance and the long, lonely days. Thanks to Mom and my brothers and sisters and their families who contributed to those efforts!  To my family who welcomed Julie with open arms to the Marek and Ruth Christmas, “Thanks!” is just one little word with millions of thoughts attached!  You are all greatly appreciated.

To the teacher of my great nephew Benen, “You are amazing!”  His class sent cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.  Evan and Julie recorded a “thank you” which became a part of the school celebration for Veteran’s Day starring Benen!  You’ve never met Evan but yet took the time to honor and recognize a soldier away from home and from a community half-way across the state! Priceless!

To my friends and co-workers, thanks for asking about and listening to my stories about Evan and Julie.  It made the 248 days more bearable.

To Allison, thanks for searching for soldiers to support!  Also thank you for your continued contact and support of both Julie and me as well!

To my fellow “Slicers” who I have YET to meet – special thanks for your comments and thank you’s for Evan’s service.  Simply taking the time to comment is/was greatly appreciated!


It’s hard to find words to say “Thank You” to my son for his service, sacrifice and patriotism, but there are many others that I also need to thank!

The real hero who must be recognized is Evan’s wife, Julie.  What a trooper!  Not fun to have a husband of two months shipped overseas.  Lots of love, laughter and tears did help you through those long months of an overseas deployment! (and frequent conversations with the dogs, Toby Ryan and Millie Ann!) Julie won the prize for the best “duct tape” and decorated boxes!

And then the shining stars behind Julie every step of the way – her parents, John and Debbie; and her sisters, Melissa and Keri and all their families.  Julie’s parents were there to see Evan off and to see him safely home.  Keri, Alma and Melissa also were there for the celebratory homecoming.  Aunt Lisa, Andy and Matthew were also there for the homecoming dinner and tons of support.  Your love is visible in all your actions and words.

Like the tree roots there are many invisible supports as well: the FRG groups, the prayers at churches across the country and many other community groups that routinely support  deployed service member’s families.

With my deepest gratitude!


and my sincerest apologies for anyone that I left out!  (I blame “my increasing age” and “failing memory”!)  As well as my thanks to any readers who are at present or who in the past have been part of a soldier’s support systems!

With this metaphor, is it possible for a person to be both a branch on the tree and a part of the root or support system?  What do you think?  (Add your thoughts to the comments!)

14 responses

    1. Just a whole lot of grateful-ness here!

  1. What a beautiful thank you, but actually we should be thanking you and your son and all who have supported him over those 248 days. Really isn’t that what that metaphor is about? At times we are in the roots or a branch, but we are all the tree. So glad your son is home with his lovely wife.

    1. Oh, Julieanne!

      You made ME cry this morning!

      And that is why I nominated you as a “GREAT commenter” for me as a new “slicer.” Here I was thinking black and white – tree branches or roots and you said it, “…we are all the tree.”

      You are such a great thinker! ❤

  2. No amount of words can ever express the gratitude towards our soldiers. The support system is vital to survival. I worry about those who don’t have one.

    1. I also worry about those who do not have a “broad” enough support system! This is one thing that has changed immensely since my husband was activated in Desert Storm – no internet, facebook, or connectivity! (sometimes can be “too much” but so helpful when just a few words of encouragement can brighten a day – home or away!)


  3. Oh Fran…you made me cry sitting here in my office! I love that Benen’s class was able to help out and that Evan and Benen have this connection now. 🙂 I love the tree metaphor and as one of the other comments said, “At times we are a root or a branch, but we are all the tree.” You have been an amazing source of love and support (a “root!”) to Josh, me, and the kids over the years. We are so lucky to have the chance to be the “roots” this time around. Love you, Roger, Evan, and Julie! ❤

    1. Well, Amanda, I love sharing the “crying” but I do regret not issuing the “tissue alert!” This one is the real tear jerker:

      The tree metaphor really seems to fit! Love you all as well!

  4. It is definitely possible to be the tree and the branch. Sometimes we hold others up while sometimes we need support ourselves.

    1. Thanks, Stacey! I think that is something that the “Slicers” understand all too well – how to support others! What an amazing community you all have crafted!

  5. I cried too, as I read this piece. I’m the mom of two twenty-ish sons. Can’t imagine having to say goodbye and wait all those days…Thank you, to you and to him!

    1. You are welcome! Relieved that this second deployment is over! Much support is needed!

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. […] tells me that I’ve written about kolaches as a part of family and home here, here, here and […]

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