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I realize that the subject of death and dying is thought to be a somber conversation. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it needs to be. My father passed away when I was very young (16). He was born with a defective heart and he left this earth way too early (55). The last verse of my song, Tears on My Pillow, is about the loss I felt (check out my “Heart Song page). He had open heart surgery about 7 months before he passed away. We (my family) never spoke of his illness nor his impending passing. I remember seeing many tears in my mother’s eyes and my grandmother’s eyes. I felt pain but did not fully understand why I felt it. I understand now, that by not talking about the inevitable early passing of my father, my mother sought to protect me from pain. As a result, I have…
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I realize that the subject of death and dying is thought to be a somber conversation. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it needs to be. My father passed away when I was very young (16). He was born with a defective heart and he left this earth way too early (55). The last verse of my song, Tears on My Pillow, is about the loss I felt (check out my “Heart Song page). He had open heart surgery about 7 months before he passed away. We (my family) never spoke of his illness nor his impending passing. I remember seeing many tears in my mother’s eyes and my grandmother’s eyes. I felt pain but did not fully understand why I felt it. I understand now, that by not talking about the inevitable early passing of my father, my mother sought to protect me from pain. As a result, I have always had a horrible fear of “death.” So much pain throughout my life caused by unresolved “issues.” Perhaps I do not fear my own passing (although I think about it more and more as I try to deal with my RA) but rather, the passing of those I love. The fear of loss often cripples me. As parents we do the best we know how. I no longer blame my mother for “making it a better transition,” but instead I now look to her to teach me how she’s doing it.
Several years ago, while visiting my mother (then about 88 years old), I was admiring a paper weight that had belonged to my father. When I turned it over, I was surprised to see a label that read, “When I die, this goes to Peggy.” Hmmm, I began to look at other things in the house only to find out that she had “labeled” almost everything! At first, I though it rather morbid and told her so. Now, we laugh about it and it has begun to make more sense to me. My mother (soon to be 92) is a strong, dignified and proud woman. There was no doubt that she would handle the planning for her final years the way SHE chose to. Many times I felt her decisions to be wrong (for any number of reasons) but I have come to realize that we should all have the right to make our own choices for as long as we are able. By making choices early on we are able to make them with a sound mind. I am beginning to see the wisdom of her ways. The sooner we begin to discuss our inevitable passing the better not only are we but the better are those we will leave behind. (That is a story for another blog day). Mother will be 92 very soon. She herself has forgotten her plans but has left them in the hands of someone she trusts to carry them out. This too is a subject for yet another posting.
Death is a part of living. We leave this life to become a part of another. Perhaps it is time to think about and plan for how we want to travel.
It seems that sleeping past 4 o’clock has become something of a rarity these days. This morning I “slept in” and awoke at 4:30! I watched several Ted Talks and then tried to sleep a bit more… nope… that wasn’t going to happen this morning!
Wow! Then I realized that it is Christmas Eve morning ….I began to reflect…..thinking of the Christmas gifts I’ve yet to wrap, I thought back on some of MY favorite “gifts.”
* When I was a young girl, my father used to paint a large winter/ Christmas scene on the very large mirror in our living room above the fireplace mantel. It took days to paint, but I remember watching every day as his picture took shape. Lol, I remember the days it took my mother to clean the paint off the mirror after the holidays. Rolls and rolls of paper towels and a bottle of windex! That memory of those pictures ….. a priceless gift!
* I remember the huge bulbs of many colors that outlined the front door and the large plastic candles that stood on either side of the door.
* I remember the home made egg nog in the white milk glass punch bowl with the large block of ice cream floating atop.
* I remember the smells coming from the kitchen and the family all sitting around the dinner table.
* I remember hearing … and reading… ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
* I remember the look of excitement and wonder in the eyes of my children on Christmas morning.
* I remember the December that my son returned from deployment and was reunited with his wife and daughter.
There are more gifts to remember but too many to write here. This morning I leave you with this thought as we all get ready to celebrate the holiday.
No matter what holiday we celebrate, remember some of the best gifts are those we don’t need to unwrap! What was YOUR favorite gift?
I look forward to the gift of family tomorrow.
As I continue to seek out what retirement and aging means to me, I realize that many are thinking about the same thing but many are not! No longer does retirement mean to sit idly by while we “wait out” the last chapter. The bigger question becomes (and it will be different for each one of us), “What do I want to do with the last chapter?” I am beginning to realize that many people don’t know where to begin. Perhaps here is a place where those of us who have started on this journey to realization can share with others. What are YOU doing since you retired? What does retired actually mean? I RETIRED from one thing but now I am moving on to another. Perhaps the word “retired” is more in line with the word “income.” My “income” has certainly changed but I am still a vibrant individual, full of ideas and desires….and better yet…I still dream!
My followers are still few as I am new at this blogging thing. Perhaps everyone can invite just one person to follow along. For those followers that are not yet
“retired,” perhaps you will learn from our thoughts. Or better yet, perhaps you can share you current stories for in the end, they will shape your retirement to a large extent. Remember, this blog is not just about retirement…it is about our JOURNEY.
This is a place for us to share “journey stories” and bits of wisdom in the hopes that we can learn from each other–young and old. The stories change from day to day, from year to year. It is said, that with age comes wisdom. I say, with age ( I am 61) we are more determined to seek wisdom and learn about the journey we call life! For me, I seek the answers in song. It speaks to my heart and, comforts my soul and says what words alone cannot. If music is truly the universal language then we can spread the power of healing through song. We are all on a journey and this is the account of my journey. Our paths may be different but our journeys are the same…to seek the truth and purpose of our existence..
With the holiday season upon us, I find myself reflecting on years gone by. Memories of my children when they were “little” and I was “younger!” It’s funny how we look upon those years as precious moments to be held on to. Yet, when we ARE “younger” those very SAME years are looked upon as demanding, trying, taxing, difficult, hard fraught, traumatic, pressured tense and frustrating. What is it that makes those feeling change to pleasure, merriment, joyfulness, delight, bliss, pleasure, contentment etc. as we “look back upon them? When we DO look back upon them with all those wonderful synonyms for happiness….we often get sad? It would seem to me that this is a quandary! As I age, this becomes more and more of a “practical dilemma!”
Please share your thoughts with me……
Updating this question to bring it “upfront.”