Soldier On | A Guest Blog by Patience Griffin

Even though I lost my mother when I was fifteen, I feel lucky to have had so many amazing women in my life. From my incredible grandmothers to school teachers to my female cousins to writing friends to women in the community. But the one woman who influenced me the most was my uncle’s wife, my Aunt Janet. The reason I write it as my uncle’s wife is so you would know that she didn’t have to be my mentor and my confidante. She used to say that blood was thicker than water, but no one would ever know that we weren’t biologically related for how she treated me and guided me into the woman I am today.

Our close relationship really started after my father passed away when I was twenty and I was newly married. Aunt Janet and I corresponded through letters and she checked up on me with phone calls. Though I lived in a rural area and over an hour away from a university, she encouraged me to get a degree. I enrolled and made the long commute every day. On the phone, I would tell her how my classes were going and how hard it was to raise one child, then two, while going to school and working.

When my husband left after eleven years of marriage, leaving me with the two kids and with me in engineering school, Aunt Janet encouraged me to soldier on. We would talk for hours on the phone, while she helped me to remember who I was before I was married. She reminded me often how lucky we were to be living in this day and age, where women had choices and could do anything. Without her encouragement, I couldn’t imagine finishing my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering or my master’s degree in nuclear engineering afterward without Aunt Janet cheerleading me on from the sidelines.

Aunt Janet believed family was the most important thing, and she and my uncle rarely missed a big moment in my life, and in my kids’ lives, too, as they would drive full days to make our events. Because of her commitment to me and my family, I never felt like I was living my life all on my own.

When my remaining grandmother was near the end of her life, I felt compelled to write a story depicting my grandmother when her twins were born, a story my grandmother repeated often. When I shared the story with Aunt Janet, she gave it praise, but ever the English professor, she reminded me that writing is a craft to be worked on, labored over, and worked on again.

And work on it I did. For my own daughter’s graduation from high school, I wrote a book of all the stories that I wish someone had told me when I was eighteen. The lion’s share of those stories were ones that my aunt Janet had told me. Stories of lessons learned, little scraps of wisdom, things I thought were important. It was the first book I wrote—100 pages. I had it bound into a hardcover book at a university press—only one copy—and presented it to my daughter with Aunt Janet looking on.

My aunt Janet is gone now from a brain tumor that robbed all of us of her. She never got to see me publish with Penguin Random House, but I’m certain she would be proud, and even more proud to see my tenth book coming out this month. You know, I hear her often in my thoughts when I’m going about my days, thinking about all the things I’d like to tell her and remembering everything she told me. I know I’m blessed beyond words to have had such a woman in my life, such a force. It makes me smile. And on those days where I think I don’t want to answer emails, I don’t want to do the laundry, why can’t I just laze around—surely you’ve had those days, too. Or the rougher days, like when I lost my brother…I hear Aunt Janet encouraging me with firm dedication…to soldier on.

Patience Griffin WEBSITE


One Snowy Night

Similar Articles




Recent Book Trailers



Don't Miss

Amazon: Best Books of 2021 — So Far

For their best books 'so far' list, Amazon editors have released their selection of book titles that were released between January and June of...


Columbia University today announces the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. For more information on this year’s Prize finalists and...

Caribbean Lit

Did you know that June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month? This year marks the fourteenth celebration since President George W. Bush’s proclamation in 2006. In...

There’s a Book for That: Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

There's a Book for That: Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and the Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ) has launched their #goPurple campaign....

Shadow Storm Book Trailer

Christine Feehan's latest Shadow Riders series book is out and we're thrilled to share the book trailer with you! Shadow Storm is a Romeo and...


THE BOX IN THE WOODS BY MAUREEN JOHNSON Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s...

Huma Abedin to Publish Memoir with Scribner

Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds will offer her inspiring story, coming of age as an American Muslim, the daughter of Indian and Pakistani scholars who...

Grand Central Publishing to Publish Book By Academy Award Winning Actor Jamie Foxx

Grand Central Publishing to Publish Book By Academy Award Winning Actor Jamie Foxx Grand Central Publishing is excited to announce that Jamie Foxx’s book, ACT LIKE YOU GOT...

SNEAK PEEK: Death of an Irish Mummy by Catie Murphy

Death of an Irish Mummy by Catie Murphy Squiring a self-proclaimed heiress around Dublin has got limo driver Megan Malone’s Irish up—until she finds the...


AUTHOR'S CELEBRATING FATHER'S DAY --- FEATURING KRISTINE RAYMOND Things My Father Taught Me ~ by Kristine Raymond I had the best dad in the world.  I...