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Good Grief: Life After Loss



Debbie and Mike Mason

Part 1 of 2

As weighty a topic as grief can be, I felt compelled to address it as we approach National Grief Awareness Day on August 30. I wanted to provide support to those who are weathering losses. Even when life delivers one of its most powerful blows, we can share in the certainty that we will regain our equilibrium.

Opening up a space to discuss bereavement has been cathartic for contributors sharing their stories and will be for those who read them. Talking about loss is healing, even as tears are choked back at times. For readers enduring their own losses, there is comfort in the simple reassurance that we’re not alone.

Grief is unavoidable; it’s part and parcel of the human condition, the inevitable equalizer across the board in the game of life. We’re all bound to experience the tragedy and melancholy of having lost loved ones and tasked with picking up the remaining pieces of our lives to continue our journey without them. 

How we deal with grief depends in large part on our personality and the relationship we had with the deceased. Thus, the process is singular to each of us. There can be no one-size-fits-all type of guide.

Losing a spouse can leave one person feeling shattered while another may face the same loss without much incident. The loss of a parent can result in one sibling handling it more easily than another, although they’ve lost the same person.

Neither reaction is right or wrong. Grief is as individual as our fingerprints. No two people will move through it in the same way. 

Consider this two-part article an invitation to give yourself grace while navigating the harrowing journey through loss. Provided no one is being harmed, it’s important to recognize first and foremost that all grief is “good grief.”

Get by with a little help from your friends – and a professional 

When it comes to death, as prevalent as it is, we can all be pretty terrible at dealing with it, whether we’re experiencing the loss or trying to comfort someone else. Advice from a pro can go a long way when we don’t know the best things to say or do.

To that end, Danielle Edwards, MSW, LCSW, of Edwards Psychotherapy and Consulting LLC, a grief, trauma and domestic violence recovery therapist, was kind enough to share her expertise.

First and foremost, Edwards advises any bereaved individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide to call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or to go to the nearest ER.

“Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance — the stages of grief. I don’t use them. There’s this idea that you’re supposed to move through denial, anger and once you hit acceptance, you can tie it all up and put it on a shelf. But it’s not a linear process,” Edwards said.

She advises people that they should eliminate any expectation that they should be further along. “There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not off track, your journey may be riddled with detours and U-turns. Expect a slew of other pit-stops along the way like remorse and relief, that can also be part of your experience,” she added.

Mayor of Peachtree Corners, Mike Mason

Toiling in the garden, Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason paused to survey his work and asked aloud, although he’s alone, “Well honey, what do you think? How does that look?” Having lost his beloved wife of 49 years this past January to an aggressive form of uterine cancer, he is left to only hope the late first lady of the city, Debbie Mason, would approve. 

Maintaining their beautiful garden is a labor of love and one way Mason honors his late wife. “We created a habitat in our backyard for birds, squirrels, pollinators and predators. From the sunroom, you can appreciate the color palette and shapes of the pots and flowers,” Mason said. 

He recalls telling Debbie, who was always at the helm of their projects, that she was an artist, painting with landscape, hardscape and texture. She had responded, “I’m glad you see that.”

Grandiose memorial suggestions from well-meaning constituents, like naming the bridge or City Hall after Debbie, did not appeal to Mayor Mason. He doesn’t feel they’d accurately capture her essence. The City of Peachtree Corners will soon announce what is yet to blossom in the first lady’s memory. 

In the meantime, Mason actively seeks healing through group counseling at the YMCA and reading books like Alan D. Wolfelt’s, “Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart.” He has graciously agreed to share some personal anecdotes in hopes of helping others.

Work through it 

In moments when tears cannot be contained, Mason has learned to embrace the process of grieving. After gardening, you might find him tearfully sipping wine, reminiscing about how he and Debbie once delighted in that effort together.

Hearing a country western song while driving may require him to pull over. Listening to artists that Debbie loved from his vinyl collection, like Linda Ronstadt, cues the waterworks.

YMCA Grief counselor, Elli Garrett, sagely advised him, “You can’t stop listening to the music you love. You’ve got to work through the grief, keep experiencing life the way you and your partner did. Right now, those thoughts make you cry, but eventually listening to those songs will make you feel better because they remind you of her. You have to work through the grief to get to that point.” 

Attempting to recover from the jolt of facing life devoid of the emotional intimacy he once enjoyed with his best friend, Mason repeats the mantra, “work through it,” as he continues. 

“Move on means you’re trying to leave something behind. That’s the wrong approach. You have to continue. Ask yourself,‘What’s next?’ and plan it,” Mason said.

Mission impossible

Though wanting desperately to change Debbie’s circumstances, her illness was complicated by side effects and a stroke. Based on his research, the plan was to get her into remission and have five more years of seeing her smile, holding hands, flirting, snuggling and the daily tête-à-têtes with the partner he had built a life with as they worked together to create the City of Peachtree Corners.

“Nobody’s kidding themselves. There wouldn’t be a city without Debbie Mason,” he stated.

He had remained laser focused on being a cheerleader and would’ve done so forever if it would keep her alive. But two years after her diagnosis, Debbie was gone, leaving Mason to feel like he had somehow failed.

“My mission was gone. That’s a loss, too. Taking care of her didn’t work. Now I have to do what she told me several times towards the end: start thinking of the future,” he recounted. 

Unable to think of life beyond Debbie until there was no choice, Mason abruptly met with solitude. “You wake up after the funeral, after everybody has gone back to their homes, and it’s just you and the house. All of a sudden, the house is quiet, the bed is empty,” he shared. 

Facing the new normal is physically and emotionally exerting. As Edwards informed me, there’s no white knuckling someone’s passing, it doesn’t go away.

“Make room for the grief. Tend to it,” she said. And the mayor is doing just that. 

Late night visits from the past

For Mason, the most difficult part of grieving has been the sleepless nights.

“Grief is insomnia,” he said. “Your mind won’t stop. You can be very sleepy, lay down and then, all of a sudden, you wake up and it’s that never-ending woulda, shoulda, coulda. It doesn’t matter that you intellectually understand [you shouldn’t do this]. You have to reason with yourself at two in the morning.” 

Tormented by things he wishes he had done differently, Mason reviews past incidents. “People change. You’re not the same person now as you were when you first married. That’s where my mind goes — how I would’ve handled things as the man I am now,” he said.

Recognizing one should only learn from the past — it’s futile to beat yourself up about it — he endeavors to focus on today and tomorrow. “You can’t change it. Forgive yourself. Don’t make those mistakes again. Relentlessly remind yourself of that,” he said.

On a lighter note, one that couples can appreciate, the mayor realizes that if Debbie were aware of what he’s wracking his brain over today, she’d probably laugh and remind him of incidents he hasn’t even thought of yet. 

Being a caregiver will change you

The difficulty of providing the most intimate care while watching a loved one as they’re ravaged by an unstoppable disease leaves a mark. Supporting the emotional and physical needs of a spouse at their most vulnerable, as they become forcibly dependent due to sickness and approaching death, imposes a disarming honesty and frankness.

“You will not be the same person. I don’t have much of a filter anymore. It’s not normal for a politician,” Mason said. 

Forced to slow down while providing end of life care, the mayor has also noticed a change in his formerly fast-paced, herky-jerky ways. Now he adopts more of an unhurried disposition.

According to Edwards, some may wish to return to the person they were before the loss. But loss becomes part of your journey, and it does change you. The only question should be, “What does moving forward look like?” 

“I love you in spite of, not especially because.”

It’s a family saying, or “Debbieism,” used in times of disagreement when the late first lady reprimanded their sons about things she may not have approved of. “‘I love you in spite of, not especially because.’ The three of us were outmatched by her,” the mayor reminisced. 

Masons’ sons had markedly different reactions to the loss of their mother, in keeping with their own temperaments and individual bonds with her.

The eldest, Matt, spoke to Debbie before she passed and came out saying, “We’re OK.” He had become skilled at speaking to his mother in his best “help desk voice” whether assisting her with technology or resolving any differences.

Nick, however, had a more confrontational approach growing up. “He and Debbie could really push each other’s buttons,” Mason shared. Cancer didn’t leave much time for reconciliation. Though Nick is content with how things concluded, any residual burdens will be discussed with a therapist.

We’ve been friends through rain or shine for such a long, long time – Gordon Lightfoot

Remembering how Debbie left this world provides some comfort. “It ended well,” the mayor said. He stopped everything for two and a half years to focus first on saving her, and then on taking care of her. 

“She knew I loved her, and it ended that way,” Mason said. He had given her a dose of morphine for the pain and helped her to relax with her favorite, a soothing foot rub.

“I touched her as gently as I could and said, ‘There you are sweetie, a good foot rub. Nothing like that to make a girl take a nap.’ She took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. That’s how she passed. It was a moment of love,” he said. “You do the best you can for as long as you can and then you continue.” 

The Mason jar gets bigger 

Edwards shared an uplifting visual. Picture a series of three Mason jars, each with a black ball of grief inside. The grief appears to get smaller from left to right, but in truth, it is the Mason jars that are getting progressively larger. 

“People think grief will get smaller and smaller. But we grow around our grief. The jars get larger. Grief remains; we change and grow around it,” Edwards said.

Physical separation is difficult but personal growth still occurs after losing someone we love. There will be enjoyment again.

Edwards suggests releasing any guilt you may feel for having joyful moments because the deceased can’t share them with you. Embrace new people and new challenges. Do the things you’ve always enjoyed.

Developing new social contacts and having new experiences is allowing for Mason to slowly grow around his grief, like the Mason jar imagery.

He found this message communicated to him by Pastor Lori Osborn at Mount Carmel Church, to be most helpful. “The reason why, right now, talking to your friends is so hurtful, your grief is so profound, is that you live in a world where all your friends knew Debbie. Keep meeting new people so the size of your group of friends expands to include people who didn’t know her — you won’t leave them crying. Don’t be afraid to do new things,” Mason recounted.

When asked for any advice he’d like to share with mourners, he replied, “Get up every morning and try to do just that, but be kind to yourself. If you had planned to do something and suddenly you don’t want to, change the plan. Do the stuff you loved before.” 

As for the mayor, he’s benefitted from a return to listening to music, perusing bookstores and reading. He is determined to keep his set point at happy and positive. It’s no easy task for the man who had tissues at the ready when he teared up during our interview. 

“You get a little battered, bruised, but have to stand up and regain your balance. You can’t be a good partner if you’re too dependent upon the other person, but you do connect and lean on each other,” he said. 

Feeling esteem for our city leader who so dearly loved his wife, it is my most sincere wish that when he’s ready, Mayor Mason will find a new partner with whom to create traditions and make memories, just as his departed wife had wished for him. 

Caroline Manning

Caroline Manning lost her husband of 42 years in 2018. Thoroughly entrenched in the community, when he wasn’t at his law firm, John coached baseball and played tennis. He was the first Chairman of the Board at the Robert Fowler YMCA where he served on multiple committees thereafter. 

He also hosted the Good Friday breakfast for thousands of people and delivered sermons to the children at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church every Sunday for 30 years. Needless to say, John was a busy man. 

John and Caroline Manning

He died as he lived, assisting others. He was having fun with dear friends while helping a parishioner who had been evicted. They were boxing and transporting her belongings to an apartment on a hot September day. John, who had lived with Type 2 diabetes for 25 years, was seen jovially directing traffic. No one noticed he was declining.

In addition to taking insulin to keep blood sugar levels steady, diabetics must also remain vigilant and eat at certain times. Thinking he’d be home by noon, John had overextended himself in the warm weather, likely fueled only by a donut breakfast with his church group.

Probably feeling shaky by 2:00 in the afternoon as his blood sugar plummeted, he announced he was going to get something to eat. 

“He was too busy to pay attention. He knew how to deal with it but would get so wrapped up in whatever project he was involved in. I would say, ‘John, you’re a grown man. If you feel bad, you need to stop and get something to eat.’ This was before FreeStyle Libre that checks your blood sugar and keeps you posted,” Caroline said.  

At home preparing to receive guests, Caroline was contacted by a Duluth policeman with news that John had gone to Burger King, choked and passed out. Someone performed the Heimlich maneuver and John was rushed to Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital.

She was told to get to the hospital immediately.

The unexpected

Upon arrival, the receptionist sent her to a room. When a grief counselor introduced herself, Caroline thought she must have the wrong person.

Then the doctor came in and abruptly delivered the message, “I’m sorry to tell you this, Mrs. Manning, but your husband has passed away.” The choking had caused a heart attack. John was 70. 

Caroline alerted the church that John wouldn’t be giving the Sunday sermon. She and her daughter Catherine fielded a barrage of questions as doctors sought to determine the cause of death. Her eldest, Sarah Frances, rushed home from Hilton Head.

John and Caroline Manning with their grandchildren

Anticipatory grief

Edwards explained anticipatory grief. If you can see it coming, whether it’s a terminal illness, an addiction, a loved one’s behavior that could cause their demise, grieving begins while the person is still alive. 

“When you fear you’re losing this person, in the back of your mind you know unless something changes, this is likely going to end in their death, you’re already grieving,” Edwards said.

Those suffering anticipatory grief may wonder why they’re not more sorrowful once the individual passes away. “I ask clients to tell me about before. Before was full of so much grief or worry. Afterwards, it’s almost like a sigh of relief. Grief is more than sadness,” Edwards said.

After the initial shock, Caroline experienced a sense of calm. It was the end of her distress every time John left the house. She no longer had to worry about him living on the edge. It may seem unusual to those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, but it is indeed, part of grief. 

She and her daughters had witnessed more of John’s risky behavior and cautioned him repeatedly. 

Wishing he’d had FreeStyle Libre to beep at him, Caroline shared, “We worried constantly. He’d stay too long at the office or go to a meeting and not eat. By the time he’d get home, he’d be shaking and sweating. We’d get mad.”

Fearing the worst, Caroline insisted on moving his office from Buckhead back to Peachtree Corners; John was having episodes of feeling light-headed driving home.

She had asked him, just months before he passed, what his wishes would be for his funeral. She knew he’d have specific requests for songs and Bible verses, and she noted those. 

Losing a patriarch 

John’s departure was swift. “Because we didn’t see any suffering, what we had to do is learn to live without him,” Caroline said.

She was at ease assuming the role of hostess. “People were coming over. I was explaining what had happened and making everyone feel comfortable,” she said. 

Sarah Frances, who worked in public relations at the time, kicked into PR mode. She wrote the obituary, planned the funeral, created the program and contacted everyone. She was in full-blown funeral mode.

“That’s how Sara Frances handled her grief. She wanted it to be the most perfect funeral, if there is such a thing,” Caroline said.

John and Caroline Manning enjoying a special occasion together

Diabetes can kill you

Stressing the seriousness of diabetes — a disease that can unexpectedly kill you — Sarah Frances also contributed to a cautionary article for a legal publication. The response was surprising. Caroline heard from several attorneys with Type 2 diabetes who never thought they could die from it. 

The family was stunned by comments like, “I’d just get a Coke and a candy bar to bring my blood sugar levels up,” Caroline said.

Wives reached out declaring they had never fretted, having no idea this could happen. “I don’t know what doctors are doing wrong. People think they can eat and do whatever they want, as long as they’re taking meds. So much to learn,” Caroline sighed. 

Count your blessings

John’s doctor provided some consolation, pointing out that he could’ve gone into a coma. “I firmly believe God took him quickly as opposed to letting him stay in a coma. He would not have liked to have a debilitating disease. He died the way he would’ve wanted — doing what he loved with people he loved — and not in bed, sick,” Caroline said.

“He was never sick. He never missed church or work. I think we’d all hope to die like that — quickly, no suffering, no putting your family through struggles. I count that as a blessing,” she added. 

No time for a meltdown

Fraught with projects, there was no time to stop. It was likely self-preservation that had her functioning on autopilot. “I didn’t have a real meltdown,” Caroline said.

She’d been suggesting they downsize and encouraging John to either close his office or work from home for years. Not wanting the task of maintaining their family home alone, Caroline was quick to get it on the market.

She also closed down John’s law firm. It was a daunting undertaking; he had practiced for over 40 years. 

Just days prior to his passing away, the couple had started cleaning out their basement — a job she was left to complete on her own.  

Same loss, different grief

“I had all those projects lined up. I was consumed with all that. I think the girls have struggled more than I have. They were both very close to their dad,” Caroline said. 

Each of the Mannings’ daughters would tell you they were John’s favorite. Sarah Frances, who inherited John’s exuberant personality, sought grief counseling.  


Selecting Crowell Brothers Funeral Home on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard proved to be beneficial. “They were wonderful to work with. They handled everything,” Caroline said.

They fought for three months to obtain the certificate of death without which one cannot sell property or collect life insurance. They remained in constant contact with Caroline, who deems them “fabulous.”

According to Caroline, grief must be processed one step at a time. She has moved from one step to the next with the help of her girls and her grand-girls, who are a huge part of her life.

Decisions, decisions

The hardest thing for Caroline was facing choices alone. She was glad to have the support of her daughters.

“When you’ve been married for 42 years, the hardest thing is making a decision by myself,” Caroline revealed.

Without an equal partner to help weigh ideas, she realized that whatever happened going forward, was going to be her call. It was daunting at first, but now she’s more comfortable with it.

“I’m loving being in charge,” she chuckled.

The company of a man

When Caroline and John were together, the couple enjoyed mutual respect and a lot of fun. They loved cooking and entertaining, music and theatre.

Caroline misses his humor, companionship and the fun surprises he’d plan, like scavenger hunts and progressive dinners spanning multiple restaurants.

“John liked to go and do,” Caroline smiled. “Not having any men in my life has been challenging. They do bring a lot. I’m only now reaching that point.”

New life

“I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be,” Caroline shared.

She’s moved to a home she loves in a conveniently located neighborhood of both young families and empty nesters. “It’s a nice mix. A great group of people. The women get together for happy hour at the pool,” she said. 

Embracing a new career, Caroline adores substitute teaching at her granddaughters’ school. They bring their friends by to meet their “Mimi.”  

Caroline is ready for the next chapter in her life.  

Bottom line

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Tell your people how much you love them often and treasure the special moments you are able to share with them. 

Part 2 of Life After Loss is scheduled to appear in the next issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine.

For a therapist who will meet you wherever you are on your grief journey, contact Edwards at 470-668-5930 or email info@edwardspac.com

  • John and Caroline Manning

  • John and Caroline Manning with their grandchildren

  • John and Caroline Manning enjoying a special occasion together

  • Debbie and Mike Mason

    Debbie and Mike Mason

  • Debbie and Mike Mason

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. She and her family have enjoyed living, working and playing in Peachtree Corners since 2013.

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What’s Happening at Pinckneyville Community Center this Month



NEW! Gwinnett “En Plein Air” Park Art Challenge: We’re calling Gwinnett artists 16 and older to participate in an artwork challenge! Paint an outdoor scene at one or more of the parks selected for a chance to win a cash prize. Saturday, August 5 to Saturday, November 11. Submission deadline is November 17. Please call 678-277-0920 for more information!


Adventure Days Out: We’ve got your school’s out childcare covered. Children will have an amazing experience trying new games, exploring new skills, making new friends and most of all, having fun! 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Ages 5-12. $30 per day.

  • October 5, 6, 9

NEW! Beginner Karate: This course consists of traditional martial arts self-defense to help students develop strength, knowledge and discipline. Our classes are safe, fun and exciting! Saturdays, October 7 – 28. 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Ages 5/up. $88.

NEW! Basic Drawing: Students will learn the basics of line, shape, value, texture, and perspective to create finished drawings in pencil and charcoal. Students will draw subject matter provided by the instructor. Call 678-277-0920 for dates and times. Ages 18/up. $201.

NEW! Understanding Watercolor: Taught by an award-winning watercolorist, this course emphasizes techniques in watercolor. Various subject matter from still life, landscape, animals to portraits will be rendered. All levels welcome. Call 678-277-0920 for dates and times. Ages 18/up. $201.

Get Into Watercolor: Learn the basics of watercolor from a seasoned instructor! This class is designed for beginners as well as the more experienced. Master the methods of watercolor to paint basic and complex shapes; development of depth through values, perspective, color and the composition of overall painting. Students will furnish their own materials (supply list will be provided). Saturdays, October 7 – November 11. 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $141.

Ballet–Preschool: Creative dances and imagination will help instill a love for dancing, as your toddler learns the basics of ballet in a positive and fun environment! Preschool ballet will need pink leather ballet shoes and pink footed tights, pink leotards and a pink skirt. Saturdays September 9 – 30. 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Ages 4–5. $37.

Ballet–Beg: Expand your child’s ballet abilities in this beginner class. Students will focus on developing ballet techniques and posturing. Beginner ballet will need pink leather ballet shoes and pink footed tights, pink leotards and a pink skirt. Saturdays, September 9 – 30. 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Ages 6–9. $37.

Ballet–Int: Expand your child’s ballet abilities in this beginner class. Students will focus on developing ballet techniques and posturing. Beginner ballet will need pink leather ballet shoes and pink footed tights, pink leotards and a pink skirt. Saturdays, September 9 – 30. 9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Ages 7–10. $37.

Ballet–Int: Students will reinforce their ballet techniques, physical strength, flexibility, and musicality in this intermediate level class. Dancers need pink leather ballet shoes, pink footed tights, black leotard and a black skirt. Saturdays, September 9 – 30. 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Ages 11–16. $37.

Ballet–Adv/Pointe: This class is designed for dancers 15 or older, aimed at strengthening ballet technique, flexibility, and performance levels. More demanding and complex movements will help your student master the art of ballet. Dancers need pink leather ballet shoes, pink footed tights, black leotard and a black skirt. Saturdays, September 9 – 30. 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Ages 15/up. $37.

NEW! Hip Hop/Jazz: Tone your body and get your heart pumping to the beats of your favorite music! Students will learn fun, innovative, and unique dance routines that will strengthen their dance skills. Each class consists of stretching, exercise, cool downs and dance choreography. Drop in any class for only $15. Wednesdays, September 13 – November 1. 6:10 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Ages 8-12 $81.

NEW! SWEAT: This class incorporates all aspects of fitness: cardio, resistance, flexibility and core training structured in segments that focus on upper, middle and lower body exercises. This class will improve endurance, strength, muscle, tone and definition for all fitness levels. Wednesdays, September 13 – November 1. 7:10 p.m. – 7:50 p.m. Ages 18/up. $81.

NEW! 3D Printing Workshops: Unlock your child’s creativity and introduce them to the exciting world of 3D modeling and printing! Our class teaches the basics of 3D design using industry-standard software, Blender and bringing designs to life through 3D printing. Participants will gain valuable skills such as problem solving, spatial reasoning, creativity and attention to detail while having fun creating their own unique 3D printed creation. A laptop and mouse are needed for this class. Required: A $10 material fee is due at the start of the class paid directly to the instructor Optional: $10/session for laptop rental fee. Please reserve ahead. Highly recommended to bring your own laptop and mouse. 

  • 3D Printing Experience: Saturdays in August, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Ages 6 – 18, $36
  • Design Thinking in 3D Printing: Saturdays, August 5 – 19, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Ages 6 – 18, $100


NEW! Session begins September 11, registration opens August 30.

Wheel: This class is perfect for beginner pottery students who want to learn the basics of working with a pottery wheel. $22 per bag of clay required. Mondays, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $128.

Wheel Adv: Advanced pottery wheel lessons that build on the beginner class so you can hone your skills and perfect your craft. $22 per bag of clay required. Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $128.

Wheel/Handbuilding – Beginner: This class is for true beginners interested in pottery, both wheel and handbuilding will be explored. Try it out and explore a new art form! $22 per bag of clay required. Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $128.

Wheel/Handbuilding – Adv: This course incorporates working with a pottery wheel and hand building with clay for more experienced students. $22 per bag of clay required. Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $128.

Handbuilding: No wheel necessary in this course, learn how to work and create with your hands using clay and tools. $22 per bag of clay required. Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ages 16/up. $128.

Independent Study: Open studio session for individual pottery artists. Must complete Pottery Studio orientation prior to first visit if you are a new patron. Monday – Saturday. Ages 16/up. $100.

Independent Study ADD ON: Open studio session for individual pottery artists.  Must be registered for current pottery class. Monday – Saturday. Ages16/up. $30. 

*Out of county resident fees applied at time of registration*


Atlanta Gourd Patch: Create art on gourd canvases. Meeting the second Saturday of each month, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. To register contact Kay Rozea at 470-316-8185 or kmr01@aol.com.

Atlanta Hobby Robotics Club: Come and share your robotics ideas. All ages are welcome. Meeting on the third Saturday of each month, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. To register contact Walter Burleson at 404-932-8108 or wlenbl@gmail.com.

Senior Bridge Club: A trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships. 50/up. Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. To register contact Mary Fender at 678-357-6709 or maryrfender@yahoo.com.

Bridge- Act II: Fourth Monday of each month from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. For more information contact JoAnne Leisen at 571-330-4730.

Guitars for Vets: Helping Veterans cope with PTSD through music. Participants get 10 weeks of one–on–one lessons. When finished with lessons participants will receive a free guitar! Mondays, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. To register contact Cliff Meinhardt at 404-234-8040. Visit guitars4vets.org for more information.

Gwinnett Chess Club: Chess for all ages. All experiences are welcomed. Every other Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. To register contact Tom Emch at 770-605-0429 or ibemch@charter.net.

Last Tuesday Book Club: Join in on all the reading fun! Meets the last Tuesday of each month.

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Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA Plans ‘Welcoming Week’ and More Exciting Events This Fall



Welcoming Week: Reserve your FREE one-time guest pass during the week of September 8 – 17 and enjoy everything the Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA has to offer. Welcoming Week provides an opportunity for Peachtree Corners neighbors, whether they are immigrants or U.S.-born residents, to connect and strengthen community bonds. From swim class and water safety to day camps, group workouts and community well-being initiatives, the Rober D. Fowler Family YMCA has something for the whole family.

Guest passes do not include access to outdoor pools or basketball facilities in the gymnasium. Click here for you free guest pass.

Lifelong Learners: Healthy living doesn’t always mean physical activity. Creative thinking, exploring interests, and learning new things are as important as diet and exercise. That is the philosophy behind Lifelong Learners. For ages 50 and up, Lifelong Learners offers seniors the chance to come together and enjoy guest speakers, local field trips and spirited cultural discussions. The group meets every other Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the Senior Center. For more information, email Rob Wilson at robertw@ymcaatlanta.com.

Grief and Loss Support Group: Grief and loss are two of the most difficult emotions to face in life, but you don’t have to face them alone. Every Monday at 11 a.m. in the Senior Meeting Room, the Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA provides a safe and caring environment for participants to come together and begin to understand the grief process. For more information, connect with Ellie Garrett at ejgarrett@gmail.com.

Caring for Those Who Care: The YMCA’s weekly Caregivers Group provides a dedicated meeting space for caregivers to offer and receive emotional support. If you are providing care for a loved one, or want to learn more about long term caregiving, this group is for you. The group offers practical information while respecting confidentiality and encouraging camaraderie. Take this opportunity to build relationships with others in similar situations every Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. in the Senior Meeting Room. To learn more, email Mary Crawley at mcrawley@wans.net.

More Senior Activities: 

  • Canasta: Every Monday at 2 p.m. in the Senior Meeting Room,
  • Dominoes: Every Thursday at 10:45 a.m. in the Senior Meeting Room

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Gully-Washer Subsides to Keep ‘Light Up The Corners’ on Track



Call it luck or divine intervention, but some force in the universe was determined that the 10th annual Light Up The Corners event was going to take place as planned. About an hour before start time, the deluge that threatened the area with heavy rains and strong winds on Saturday, Aug. 12, began to subside.

By the planned 8 p.m. start, the sun had peeked through the clouds and fun and festivities were in full swing.

Guests from all across metro Atlanta gathered at The Forum at Peachtree Corners for the four-mile glow run and one kilometer twilight trot benefitting the Fowler Family YMCA. The evening raised over $60,000 for the local community center, according to organizers.

“This event has taken on a life of its own,” said Light Up The Corners race organizer Amy Massey in a press release. “The run is less about competition and more about friends, neighbors and families coming together to participate in a healthy, family-friendly fun way to ‘glow for the good’ of the community.”

Despite the weather threat, this year’s event attracted a record number of participants, sponsors and volunteers with more than 1,400 registered runners and hundreds of spectators cheering along the racecourse. Even if the physical activities weren’t your thing, there were plenty of other attractions to keep one occupied.

The festivities included activities for the whole family, a live DJ, roaming entertainment — one of the dancers was a dead ringer for Katy Perry — face painting, neon manicures, special prizes and awards for the runners. Light bites, beverages and giveaways were provided by The Forum retailers and restaurants, along with local schools, churches and businesses across the Peachtree Corners and metro Atlanta area.

“Light Up The Corners has become a truly beloved tradition not only for The Forum, but the entire Peachtree Corners community. Witnessing thousands of glowing runners is a thrill from start to finish, and we’re honored to support our friends at the YMCA year after year,” said Charlotte Hinton, The Forum marketing manager.

Since its inception, Light Up The Corners has raised more than $400,000 for the Fowler Family YMCA. To learn more, go to lightupthecorners.com.

Photos by George Hunter

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