Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Southern Summer


Last week, my daughter and grandkids, drove up from Georgia with her best friend, Melinda and three of her kids. The kids were on fall break as they started school the first week in August. Now you know how much I love having a full house and seeing my grandkids. But this was the first time I have also had the pleasure of southern hospitality in my own house.

The last day they were here, my friend Summer came over to see everyone. I was introducing her to Melinda and her daughters and it hit me that they had very similar personalities. They both are unpaid good Samaritans and help people around them tremendously. For example, right before helping my daughter through her hospitalization, Melinda helped a woman escape from a man who had put acid on her pillowcase. If you follow my blog, you know how much Summer has helped me and my family through thick and thin. That is how Melinda came to be dubbed “Southern Summer” and I was sorry I had already changed her name to Melinda in my writing. Melinda would have loved the name Autumn, and that would have fit perfectly with Summer. But alas, Melinda it is.

Her daughter Misty is just shy of her 18th birthday and is more capable and mature than most of the adult women I know. No exaggeration. Her daughter Miranda is 13. I was shocked. I kept telling everyone she was 16 because I thought she was. She is the same age as my Frankie. That just didn’t seem possible. Now I know what they say about boys being way behind girls developmentally, but holy cow. It was really hard to comprehend they were the same age.

Her youngest Natalie, is eight and the same age as my grandson Parker. She would come to the door of the room where I was trying to clean up the tornado-like mess and say, “Sorry Miss Darcy. Can I help you clean up?” And then I would faint. Where did these children actually come from?

I have to admit, I am terribly flattered by all the “yes, ma’am'” responses I got. I know it’s just the way they talk, but I loved it. They also hugged and kissed me several times a day and asked me when I could move to Georgia.

And then there was the cooking. Sausage biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I can’t even begin to tell you what that was like. Melinda laughed at my “Yankee milk” because it was 2%. Nothing but whole milk for them. She laughed when she found the sausage had been put in the freezer. They eat so much sausage in the south, that they never freeze it. She didn’t even know it could be frozen.

Fried green tomatoes and southern fried chicken for dinner. Mashed potatoes with the craziest yummy gravy I’ve ever had. Mmmmm…  I don’t even want to know how much weight I gained while they were here.

There was karaoke night. Miss Melinda used to be a singer by profession. When she took the stage at my little hole in the wall dive bar, the little group of people there went crazy. She was outstanding. And there was that cute southern accent with her, “Ya’all are so kind” statements and that was it. She was our Georgia Peach. And everyone in the place bought her drinks and shots all night long.


She is more my age than my daughter’s age, and I believe we have bonded on our own rites. We initially bonded over the love and concern for my daughter, but now I know we are also kindred spirits. She is of the caliber of my dear Summer. She is my Southern Summer now and her daughters have a very, very deep hook in my heart.

My Emily is very lucky to have her for a best friend. And I am very lucky to have met her, as well as her southern belles. I miss them terribly already!


Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at,, or Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Southern Summer

  1. 💖💖💖 So happy to hear!💖💖💖

  2. I am so happy you have had some positive loving people in your life recently. Followed your story of the Georgia mental health saga with mounting horror. Thank God you were there to intervene and be her advocate. Stay strong, be positive, and keep on saving people! It takes a lot out of you but has its rewards!

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