Cobb Galleries

Antiquing and Collecting Since 1981

story by cindy burbage photos by miranda osborn-sutphen

Located in heart of historic Savannah, Cobb’s Galleries is poised on the corner of Abercorn and E 37th Street at the historic Krouskoff House. Upon entering the gallery, you are taken back in time with the atmosphere of the 1895 house that furnishes more than 250,000 antiques and collectibles.

      Al Cobb, Sr., owner of Cobb’s Galleries, began his love and appreciation for heirlooms with gold and silver. His debut store was called Cobb’s Gold and Silver Galleries; over the years, he expanded to handle a wider array of collectibles. The polished antique dealer expanded his business to include art, antiques, jewelry, pocket and wristwatches, coins and currency, Civil War relics, post cards, stamps, antique dolls, toys, games and not to mention thousands of other collectibles which include 6,000 vintage vinyl record  albums , and the largest collection of cookbooks in Georgia (approximately 6,000). There are 6,000 each of vintage comic books, magazines, figurines and art pottery in stock. Also included in the collections are leather bound classic novels published by Easton Press along with Hamilton Mint.

With the wide variety of treasures, Al Cobb shared, “We still buy all kinds of sterling silver and gold items. We buy and sell singles, rolls and bags of 90% silver coins to ½ dimes to silver dollars.” Gold coins and international coins and paper money can also be bought and sold; this includes entire coin and currency collections. Cobb Galleries is also in the market to purchase stamps, Civil War memorabilia, post cards and token and medal collections as well.  “I really need to emphasize that we need to buy / trade out or barter for broken, dented, scratched and unwanted sterling silver jewelry and sterling flatware and hollow ware.  Gold jewelry and gold or platinum scrap can be repurposed into jewelry/ coins/ medals and more flatware for the future generations is also a need,” the antique dealer shared. “Rare coins and paper money from the USA and around the world needs special attention too.  Also, Grandpa’s and Granny’s old yellow gold dentures , bridgework and teeth get a good laugh out of many people who have no use for them other than melt down for the Gold.”  With the banks only five blocks away, Cobb Galleries offers one hour or less service in most buying transactions; customers can get their cash today.

     Buying and selling of item of yesterday is not the only flair of Cobb’s Galleries. Al Cobb, Sr. has been an estate and insurance appraiser since the 1970’s. His numerous years of experience allow him to appraise any ancient, antique or modern day collectible. In fact, his services are trusted by many local companies. Prices are competitive: a verbal appraisal for up to ten items is $100 and written ones for insurance and estate purposes are $250 plus 10% per thousand, based on the total evaluation.

Cobb’s Galleries has been a familiar name in Savannah and the surrounding areas for more than 36 years; their memorable reputation is based on their honesty and their five star ratings on all fronts. This includes their Better Business Bureau listing and a 100% on EBay. Please visit for more information on the gallery and their collections. The shop is open MondaySaturday 9am-2:30; later appointments can be made by calling the gallery at 912-234-1582. . Each room of the gallery is bursting with riches of yesterday and today; waiting for you to come explore and claim.

List with Coldwell Banker Intercoastal RealtyThis Fall…

List with Coldwell Banker Intercoastal RealtyThis Fall…

The fall real estate market is almost always a hot season. Home selling in the fall is the second best time of the year to sell a home. Families have returned from summer vacations. Kids have gone back to school. The holidays aren’t here yet. It sounds like a great time to prepare to home to sell.

     People are happy and relaxed as the temperature begins to drop. Home buyers are out looking, thankful the summer heat is behind them.

     If you have been contemplating putting your house on the market, now is the time to do it.

Coldwell Banker Intercoastal Realty would like to offer you some tips for attracting buyers in the fall.

*Clean Up the Yard

Rake dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don’t let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cut away summer vines and cut down dead flowers.

*Create Fall Curb Appeal

The most popular fall flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are also good for fall. Plant them in pots and place them on the steps and along the sidewalk. You can accent with pumpkin or other fall favorites.

*Clean the Windows

Rain and wind from the summer months can make your windows dusty and streaked. You might not notice smudges, but buyers will. To sell a home, your windows need to sparkle. Remove screens and spray them down.

*Check the HVAC

You want the air inside your home to smell fresh. When was the last time you changed your AC filter? Have the HVAC system checked before you need to turn on the heat.

*Clean Out the Fireplace

Ah, nothing smells better than smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. If  you have a gas fireplace, light it when buyers come through. If the fireplace is filled with cobwebs because it hasn’t been used for months, vacuum it out.

*Turn on the Lights Everywhere

Bring in the light. When days get shorter, the sun sets lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows. Pull up the blinds and push back the drapes on every window. Turn on every light in the house

*Call Coldwell Banker Intercoastal Real Estate and list your home

The friendly agents at Coldwell Banker are ready to serve you.  Just give them a call and set up a listing appointment.  All the agents at Coldwell Banker are experienced and have your best interest in mind. They will guide you through the process and help you get the best dollar for your home.  Call them today at (912) 826-0927

The Salon at MCall Plaza

Do you have a local hair salon in Effingham?  The kind that makes you feel like family when you walk in the door? If not, you need to give The Salon at McCall Plaza a try.

     The Salon specializes in new and innovative coloring and cutting techniques. They use and sell Olaplex, Antidot, Paul Mitchell, Redken and Kenra products.

     In addition to cuts and colors, The Salon also offers perms, smoothing treatments, special occasion hairstyling, make-up, waxes and more.

     While you wait, please relax, read a magazine and enjoy a cup of hot tea or coffee in our waiting area.

     Sheila Cela, owner of The Salon at McCall Plaza has been a hair stylist for 35 years.   Keeping it in the family, Sheila’s daughter Shalon has also become a stylist and has worked side by side with her mom for the past 13 years.

     The team at The Salon takes great pride in their family-friendly atmosphere. “My girls are all professionals. They all have wonderful clients and they do a great job and serving them and keeping them happy. I am proud of them all,” shares Sheila.

     The Salon serves men, women and children, making everyone in the family feel comfortable from the moment they walk in the door.

     For the children, they have plenty to keep them busy while mom or dad is having their hair done.

     The Salon has a knack for taking care of their male clients. Men can feel a little uncomfortable in a salon setting.  But that never happens at The Salon at McCall.  Men are very comfortable there.  Their friendly staff makes the guys feel right at home.

     For all of the brides-to-be and her wedding party, ask about their bridal hair session. Bridal packages are available in the salon or on location, offering make-up as well.

     The Salon has eight stylists with over 100 years combined experience. They are Angela Thomas, Debbie Cubbedge Sykes, Brooke Langford, Johnna Klontz, Sheila Cela, Shalon Cela, Shelby Schrader and Kristy Teston.

      They attend hair shows as often as possible.. For their stylists, it is very important to know the newest color techniques, cuts and styles to provide clients with the best the industry has to offer.

     The Salon is open Tuesday through Saturday with late evening appointments available for those who cannot make it in during the daytime hours or  Saturdays.

     So if you are looking for a family friendly salon, check out The Salon at McCall Plaza. You won’t regret it.

creativedesigns by Gina

Story by Stephanie Cardozo

My goal is to be a one-stop shop for businesses.”

     Raised in Effingham, Gina Brown is a mother of two boys and is growing her business right from her very home. She aims for excellence with her graphic designs. “I can make anything you need.” She designs everything from websites, decals, t-shirts and much more!

     This humble, hard working mother, began freelancing before she started her business. “I started to get so many compliments and I just fell in love with it,” she expressed, going back to the moment that brightened the creative light inside of her. Gina explained that going full-time with CREATIVEDesigns proved to be much more difficult than she imagined but she knew it was what she was meant to do. So she worked harder for what she felt passionate about. “It started by just doing it here and there, now it’s full time and I love it,” she said with a smile in her voice.

     How do you manage working from home and taking care of two boys?

     “My boys are older so they get it. They help me some, here and there. My youngest is very creative. He likes to see what his mama is doing. But once they go off to school in the morning, I sit at my desk and I start working and about the time they get home, I shut everything down and that’s family time.” Gina is sure to stay organized with keeping her business and family separate, proving that moms can run a business and still have time for the kids.

“Part of the reason why I wanted to do this full-time is because I wanted to spend time with my kids. Working full-time where I was working—I was not able to do that. I worked all the time, now I’m able to make my own schedule and if I need time off, I can allow myself that time,” adds Gina.

     Gina says she enjoys creating logos for her clients the most because it allows her the opportunity to bring their vision for their business to life. “Logos are my favorite to do, I like to get into my client’s head and see what they envision for their business. Your logo is your staple.  My job is to bring that vision to life for my clients.

     Big moves were made when Gina and her family moved from Richmond Hill back to Effingham. When asked about the change, she simply answered, “I grew up in Effingham. It was nice to get away but Effingham is home,” she expressed with joy.

     Setting goals for more success

     Gina has been working hard from her home office and is looking to open a store where she will have the tools to create bigger jobs for her clients. She is hopeful that this will be soon, as her business proves to be a success with loyal customers returning for professional designs.

     Potential clients are encouraged to head over to Gina’s website,, where you will find details on her creations such as, product designs, graphic designs and media maintenance. You can also follow Gina’s Facebook page for updates on her creations,

     Prices vary and are made to order. Gina takes a lot of pride in the quality of work she provides for her clients, and makes their needs and vision a priority.

Traci Wells : Salesperson of the Year 2016 Cora Bett Thomas Realty

Traci Wells has enjoyed great success as a Realtor for over 15 years.  Therefore, it is no coincidence that when Traci made the decision five years ago to join a local firm with global exposure she joined Cora Bett Thomas Realty.

     As a result of this successful partnership, Traci has been able to make a difference in the lives of her clients located in Chatham, Bryan, Bulloch, Effingham, and surrounding counties. Interestingly, a real source of pride for Traci is the company’s relocation and referral department.  She mentions, “We have a phenomenal relocation department.   We are contacted by potential clients from different parts of the world as well.”

     More importantly, when Traci meets with clients she is actively listening to their vision along with their needs and desires for their new home.  This intuitive approach, coupled with Traci’s vast experience is the formula for success for her clients in finding and purchasing the house they will call home.  Whether it is a couple purchasing their first home or a client who is selling their home to move on to a different chapter in their life, Traci is enthusiastic and passionate about her work.  Helping clients fulfill their dream remains the most rewarding aspect of her career and the biggest reason Traci continues to love what she does each and every day.

     Traci and her husband, Andy, are natives of Bryan County and now reside in Effingham. However, banking was Traci’s initial profession though real estate proved to be a better fit.  This financial experience compliments her real estate career.  Success in both of these complex fields require great attention to detail and an ability to understand and communicate with people from all walks of life.  Traci possesses that unique ability.

     She remarked, “Banking is a great background to have!  Once I entered into the world of real estate, I was intrigued as to “how and why” these processes work.  I have always wanted to know the nuts and bolts of everything”.   With Andy’s background as an independent construction contractor this proved to be Traci’s greatest motivator and encourager as she began to move towards a career in real estate.  “He taught me the new construction background.  Working with and learning from Andy proved invaluable.”

     Traci considers it a privilege to be a part of Cora Bett Thomas Realty, who has set an unparalleled standard in the local market.  Notably, Cora Bett Thomas Realty is not a franchise but is indeed “globally networked just like a franchise.”  The benefits include a higher degree of capitalization on meeting customers’ needs and industry demands, as well as allowing the company to have a complete customer focus and client goal-orientation.

     She explains that though the company has an inception date of 1995, Cora Bett has been in real estate industry for much longer.  Cora Bett is an expert in the ins-and-outs of real estate, enabling her to develop and maintain an exclusive brand.   Cora Bett Thomas Realty is renowned for the firm’s downtown Savannah presence.  The addition of Traci to Cora Bett’s office allows for the opportunity to respond to the market growth demands occurring on the outskirts of Savannah.  Traci is thrilled to be able to focus on the outlying counties.   She remains confident that the company can accommodate her clients’ needs while offering an unparalleled level of service.

     Cora Bett is also affiliated with the “Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.”   This distinction is an “invitation only affiliation”.   Obviously, not all real estate firms have this premium level of notoriety.  With such a distinguished industry standard, it is of no surprise that Cora Bett Thomas Realty currently ranks 7 in their Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

     Traci is thankful to be a part of such a professional and supportive team.  She asserts, “we all support each other; we work hand-in-hand together.  The company provides us with all the necessary and most up-to-date tools to get our jobs done – and done well.”

     More importantly, the market is still climbing out of the slump caused by the 2008 crash, Traci feels that the market is on a course of steady incline.  She explains, “you do not want a rapid incline; you want a steady incline – that is what makes the economy turn.”  Furthermore, Traci is pleased with the course set by Cora Betty Thomas Realty.  She adds, “I feel that the company is going in the right direction for what the market and economy allow.”

     As a Realtor, Traci has many accomplishments.  She is a member of the Savannah Board of Realtors, the Georgia Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, and has served on the Community Housing Committee for Pembroke for quite some time.  She was also named Cora Bett Thomas Realty’s 2016 Agent of the Year.   She does feel that working with an outstanding team of professionals and a company of unparalleled service while being able to fulfill dreams is her greatest success.

     In addition to her Realtor status, Traci has her Council of Residential Specialist (CRS) designation.  To obtain a CRS status, “Realtors must meet a number of stringent requirements that combine advanced hours of education and training, experience and demonstrated success in the marketplace.”  This certifies that the individual “has completed advanced professional training and demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in residential real estate.”  This small community of distinguished agents are among the top three percent of all Realtors in the United States.  Traci takes pride in her CRS designation, as it is an accolade that she takes tremendous pride in and feels it sets her apart from others in the industry.

     In her spare time, Traci enjoys spending time with her family and traveling with her husband.  They are both NASCAR enthusiasts, traveling to races whenever possible.

     Over the span of her career Traci has employed many different methods of selling and marketing, learned endless new regulations, and scouted new markets.  She and Cora Bett Thomas Realty have set new standards as they continually strive for excellence in an ever-changing real estate world, filled with endless possibilities.

Martin Construction

Local business that has over thirty years experience of helping to build dreams in Effingham.

Story By David Pena

Jesse Martin, owner of Martin Construction, has over thirty years experience in renovations, remodeling, additions, designing, and general repairs. Martin takes pride in the fact that he owns and operates a local business that has been honest, reliable, and fair to all his customers. “We would like to thank all our customers that have made our success possible,” says Jesse.

     His wife Cindy, who recently retired from pediatric nursing career after over thirty years in the profession, plans on joining her husband in the family business. They will continue to offer their customers the same quality workmanship that is expected from Martin Construction on each and every project. “We are extremely flexible with scheduling and work to meet all of our customers’ needs,” says Jesse. The Martins are also very proud of the superior customer service they’ve been able to give to each of their customers through the years. “Our customers appreciate dealing directly with us,” he adds, “because we are hands-on and stay focused on each job until it’s complete.”

     Cindy and Jesse hope to teach their grandchildren that commitment, reliability, and workmanship are necessary in order to be successful in any endeavor. God has blessed the Martin family and their business, and they hope to give some of that back to their community. Cindy says, “We plan to give our time and talents to the needs of the community as well as to worthwhile causes.”

     Please contact Jesse at (912) 429-5488 or Cindy at (912) 429-2120 for more information about Martin Construction Company or to schedule an appointment.

Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Savannah

Celebrating four decades of treating patients in the Coastal Empire

Story By David Pena

For the past forty years, when patients in the Coastal Empire have experienced any type of head and neck disorders, they usually found their way to offices of ENT Associates of Savannah. Since starting the practice four decades ago, Dr. Zoller and his colleagues have seen many technological advancements in the medical field, but one thing remains constant with him and his staff: a dedication to giving the best possible care to every patient that comes into their offices, which are located in Savannah, Rincon, Pooler, Statesboro, Blufton and Richmond Hill, in addition to the ENT Surgical Center located on the Armstrong campus.

     Dr. Zoller recently reflected on the enormous growth of his practice over the years. “Having trained in Boston, I started in 1977 in Savannah. Seven years later I was joined by Dr. Fred Daniel, who trained in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Twenty-two years ago, Dr. Stephen Rashleigh joined the practice, having trained in Chicago, and Dr. William Moretz III joined us  ten years ago after being trained in Augusta. Dr. Brad Rawlings joined six years after his training in Norfolk, Virginia. Our most recent addition, Dr. Diane Davis, was in practice for over thirty years in Dublin, Georgia before joining ENT Associates two years ago.  We’ve had to add those physicians as well as our physician’s assistant, Michelle Yamada, in order to handle the volume of patients at the various satellite offices,” he says. “In fact, we’ve been in Effingham County and Richmond Hill for about twenty-five years now. We initially had our office in the Effingham Hospital, but we later moved to Rincon in order to serve our clients who didn’t want to drive in to town for their appointments. I also see quite a few of our Effingham patients at my Pooler office.”

     In addition to the physicians, ENT Associates of Savannah has five doctors of audiology on staff who are experts in the newest hearing aid technology.  The Audiology Department works both independently and in conjunction with the physicians to provide a wide range of hearing services, both diagnostic and rehabilitative. Additionally, there is an allergy clinic for  testing and treatment. For over two decades now, residents in Effingham county can now benefit from the services that ENT Associates have been offering to Savannah residents for forty years.

     “The population in Rincon grew so much that we eventually made the decision to move there. Now we have one of our senior partners, Dr. Stephen Rashleigh, M.D., who is at the Rincon office one day a week. He stays extremely busy,” says Dr. Zoller with a smile. Dr. Rashleigh adds, “We’ve been going to Effingham for over twenty years, and it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship. There’s definitely a need for our services, since many of our patients don’t care to drive into Savannah.”

     Dr. Zoller adds, “It’s really nice to be part of the Effingham community, which has grown significantly. Many of our patients who have moved there from Savannah can now receive the same top notch service from our satellite office in Rincon.” Founded in 1977, ENT Associates has been proud to provide the residents of Georgia and Low country of South Carolina with outstanding ENT care and is looking forward to another successful forty years.

Christi Ricker : Moving Forward…Together

Story By David Pena

If elected mayor, Christi Ricker’s focus is to unite Rincon and continue to ensure the success and safety of its residents.

     Mayoral candidate Christi Shores Ricker is definitely a woman with a plan. “My goal as mayor is to become the driving force who helps Rincon grow in the right direction while still protecting its citizens and their future.” She says that her experience as a City Council-member has not only prepared her for the position, but has partly been her impetus to run. That is, along with some divine intervention. “My friend, a former council member, suggested that I run for City Council after attending our Sunday School Christmas party. My Sunday School teacher also agreed that I would be an asset as council-member. ” After initially dismissing the idea, Ricker discussed it with her mother, who prompted her to pray over it. She then conferred with her pastor, and ultimately Ricker had a change of heart about her political future. “I’m now happy to be serving my fourth year on City Council, she says, “and I hope everyone is pleased with my work thus far.”

     During her tenure, the Athletic Department  hired two full-time employees, and all of its programs have grown, notably adding cheerleading, lacrosse and basketball to the city’s offerings. “We’ve also built up our baseball fields and constructed a concession stand at Macomber Park. In addition, we are set to have our first movie night in the park, and we’ve had the circus here for the past two years.” Ricker adds that while she’s  pleased with the work she’s accomplished, there’s definitely room for improvement. “I really feel that we could’ve done more, and as mayor I hope to continue to improve and grow these programs and cultural activities.”

     One of Ricker’s concerns when she became a council-member was the city’s business district, an area she’d like to continue to focus on if elected. “I feel that there’s room for improvement in the business district, especially in the area of beautification. I suggested that we hire a marketing company to help us with the vacant properties.” While Ricker shares the sentiments of most Rincon citizens that more restaurants should be added in the area, especially Chic-fil-A, she also feels that the city’s focus should center around local revenue. “I think we should help the local businesses that are already here,” she says. “It’s in the best interest of our community as a whole, in my opinion.”

     Ricker has resided in Effingham County for the past twenty years along with her husband Brian and their two children, Alexis and Alaina. As proprietors of Clean Duct, LLC since 2008, Ricker says the couple have been vested in the city’s business community for nearly a decade. “Although I grew up in Richmond Hill, my husband and I chose to live here because we both have family in the area, and it would be a great place to raise our own family.” The couple have been active members in Rincon First Baptist Church, where Ricker has served as an outreach leader, care group coordinator, and a founding member of a mission group.

     Ricker says that she’s well-equipped to handle the position, despite the misconception about it. “Most people feel that (being elected) mayor is a step up from being a council-member; however, in a ‘weak mayoral’ system like we have, that’s not the case.” So it begs the question, “Why the bid for mayor of Rincon?” Ricker says that the position is integral to the cohesiveness of the city and its government. “The mayor should be the one to bring us all together and the person who makes sure that all the pertinent information has been brought forward. All of the council needs to be included in the critical decision-making process, and at times during my service this has not been the case. I’m ready to be that person who helps move Rincon forward.”

New Life : A Blooming Business

Helping to Brighten Lives in Effingham for over Thirty Years

Story By David Pena

We’re in the business of emotions,” explains Stephanie Long, owner and operator of New Life Flowers and Gifts in Rincon, “and since you deal with people’s feelings in my line of work, you tend to get closer to them.” This year the popular floral and gift shop is celebrating its thirty-third year in business. And because it’s the only store of its kind in the area, New Life Flowers and Gifts has had to expand its product lines, which now include Yeti tumblers, Scout Bags and WoodWick candles, just to name a few. “We also started offering bridal registries and baby shower registries, while expanding our baby lines in the process,” she adds.

     In addition to offering a wide array of gifts, New Life is also a full-service florist as well. As Stephanie will tell you, flowers have always been in her blood. “I grew up in the floral industry, so I tell folks that I was born in a flower box,” she says with a laugh. For thirty years Long’s mother had her own floral shop in Savannah, but Stephanie was ironically not planning to follow in her mother’s footsteps. “I told everyone I would never do this,” she laughs, “but it’s all I’ve ever known, and I simply love what I do. You have to love it because it involves long hours and working weekends and most holidays, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

     Long explains that one of the many perks of working in the floral industry is having the opportunity to help her clients celebrate their good times and help to comfort them in times of bereavement. “I really feel like flowers help to provide comfort to people, so that’s why funerals are generally the most fulfilling type of work that we do,” she says. Long-time employee Dawn Usher echoes the sentiment, saying, “It’s the last thing a family can do for their loved one, so it’s something that I’m always proud to be a part of.” Conversely, providing wedding arrangements  gives the staff just as much satisfaction, albeit in a different way. “We also do a lot of weddings,” continues  Stephanie, “and I always seem to get really close to my brides. I’ve been doing this for so long that I’m actually doing some of their childrens’ weddings as well, so that’s neat.”

     Many of Long’s customers have been coming to her for as long as she’s been in business, a fact not lost on her.  “I’ve seen so many changes in this community over the years, and we’ve grown right along with it. I love my customers, and I’m pleased to be working with various commercial clients as well. In fact, we specialize in our commercial work. For instance, we’ve been proud to serve Gulfstream for over twenty years.”

     With the holidays just around the corner, Long and her team are going to have their annual Christmas Open House in November. During the event, the price of the store’s entire inventory is reduced by twenty percent. “We’ve done this every year because we just love helping people get ready for the holidays. We always have a complete line of ornaments, garlands and wreaths for them to choose from,” Long says. The Open House will be held this year on November 10 from 4 to 8 pm and on November 11 from 10 to 5 pm. “There will be great Christmas music playing throughout the store, and we’ll be serving refreshments and giving out door prizes. The customers really look forward to it, so we invite everyone to come in and begin the holiday season with us. It will be just like a Christmas wonderland at New Life Flowers and Gifts!”

Savannah Hospice : It’s all about the small stuff

It’s all about the small stuff or 

When light returns after the eclipse of the sun

In 1997, Richard Carlson wrote a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff …and it’s All Small Stuff.  In most circumstances in our lives, I would agree with that sentiment. But when we experience the death of someone we love and we are grieving, the pain oftentimes comes from the absence of the small stuff. 

     What is it that you miss about the person who has died? Is it simply not having their presence? That is probably part of it, but when the grief wave hits; when the pain shoots to your very core, what is it that triggers those grief attacks? Usually, it’s the small stuff.

Keep Me in Your Heart was the last song
Warren Zevon wrote while he was dying from cancer.

“Sometimes when you’re doin’ simple things around the house

Maybe you’ll think of me and smile

You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse

Keep me in your heart for a while.”

     There is nothing much simpler or smaller than the buttons on your blouse. He is talking about the connection we have with our loved ones that permeates everything we are and everything  we do. Do you think of your mother just as an amorphous idea?  I wouldn’t think so. Do you think about cooking with her when you walk into your kitchen and grab her cookbook with all of your grandmother’s recipes?  Or, do you think of her when you find the quilt she always had on her bed when you were a kid? The same quilt she would wrap you up in when you didn’t feel well. Do you wrap yourself in it now to remember her? This is the small stuff… 

     How about your Dad? Do you remember his cologne? When you hear an old song, do you remember dancing on the toes of his shoes? Do you have his robe that he wore every weekend morning to read the paper? Do you feel his strength if you put it on like he has his arms around you? This is the small stuff…

     Brothers and sister…cousins and friends…these are the people that anchor us to times and places and are oftentimes the unseen compasses in our lives.  Do you think of your sibling when you reach up and touch the scar on your chin from where they pushed you out of the bunk beds? Did you clean out your attic this spring and find the Rick Springfield poster your best friend who just died of breast cancer gave you for your 14th birthday? How many nights did the two of you stay up talking about Rick Springfield? Don’t you wish you could call your friend or sibling and hear their voice again? This is the small stuff…

     Warren Zevon goes on to sing…

“Hold me in your thoughts, 

Take me to your dreams

Touch me as I fall into view

When the winter comes 

Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you.”

     How often did you sit next to your spouse on the couch or in the car holding hands? Do you think of them as your hand brushes against their pillow at night? Do you feel sad and a little foolish when you still walk in the house after being gone and say out loud, “Honey (or darling or sweetie …) I’m home”? The rush of the recognition that they are not there comes at you like a gale force wind but in the quiet breeze afterwards you might still hear, “Welcome home Sweet Heart.”  This is the small stuff…

     In grief, it can feel like the “small stuff” will always have the potential to overwhelm. Pushing memories and unbidden thoughts away may feel like the only way to survive. But, in the long run, the small stuff is what keeps us connected and staying connected is what helps us heal. The small stuff is what life is made of and telling the story of the small stuff brings our loved ones back to life in our hearts and memories. 

     Sometimes it can feel very much like the light has been turned off on that part of our lives. Virginia Woolf wrote, “How then does the light return to the world after the eclipse of the sun? Miraculously. Frailly. In thin stripes. It hangs like a glass cage. It is a hoop to be fractured by a tiny jar. There is a spark there.” The spark is hope. Hope is what moves us forward in our grief. Hope that the memories will bring more smiles than tears. Hope that the pain will lessen. Light comes back after the eclipse of the sun. It returns to light the path of your grief journey and too illumine the small stuff that is, in the end, the enduring connection to those that we love… Because love is always stronger than death.

Betsy R. Kammerud, LCSW, MVF-CSW, ACHP-SW is a Bereavement Counselor with Full Circle Grief and Loss Center located at 6000 Business Center Drive in Savannah. Grief counseling is provided to any child, teen or adult at no charge as a community service of not-for-profit Hospice Savannah, Inc. Reach Full Circle at 912.303.9442 or visit