Who is Junebug Strong? To be honest, I am not sure who she is as she seems to be evolving in my head as I weave together losses in my life from my dad at age 6 to Jay at age 45 with the loss of my brother-in-law, Jim and my dear friend, Scott in between. Jay would not be mad if I shared that Junebug was a nickname given to me by a guy I was dating right before Jay and I met.

We broke up when he gave me a green pocketknife with Junebug inscribed on it. What can I say – like my dad you will read about below, I am a romantic at heart and there was nothing romantic about this gift.  Jay was much better at giving me gifts but the biggest gift Jay gave me is all around me in the life we built together. It is what gives me hope everyday.

Although I only have a handful of friends who still call me Junebug, when I left my company a few months ago, I started thinking the name “Junebug Strong” would be a good name for my next something in life….


When her neighbors were not free to play hide and go seek or have mock orange fights, Junebug Strong liked to fish in the sewer behind the alley of her house. Her older sister told her there used to be an old toy store in the sewer and at times her sister would even spot a fish or a dolphin swimming by; and Junebug not having the best sense of geography (they lived in Tennessee) and a big imagination, believed her sister and did not think tying a string to a stick and sitting for awhile was a waste of her time at all.

In the middle of the night, Junebug had suddenly and loudly lost her dad, the biggest love of her 6 years and 8 months of life so hope was about all she had left and even though that felt about as slippery as a fish in her tiny hands, she was not willing to let it go no matter how bad that sewer smelled. She knew there was a possibility of catching a magical fish or a new toy. As her hands grew bigger and her imagination curated over time, hope became less slippery.

Her dad died because his heart became too big. Although the truth is he had rheumatic fever as a small boy, which permanently damaged his heart, she liked to think he had romantic fever. After all, there were so many stories about how head over heels in love he was with her mom. And Junebug definitely knew he was head over heals crazy about her and never would have decided to leave her if he could help it. But he couldn’t – Junebug would learn that lesson throughout her life. People can’t help when they decide to go.

Me and my dad getting ready to fly kites, 1975

Me and my dad getting ready to fly kites, 1975

I used to write and read to Jay and I miss reading to him so thanks for taking the time to read! More to come I think?

Love this Patty Griffin song below:

The Sunday after there was laughter in the air
Everybody had a kite
They were flying everywhere
And all the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream
All the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream