“Do you need help with that?” asked the pleasant teenager who had bagged my groceries. “No thanks, I’ve got it,” I replied as I reached for the handles of my canvas totes. His next words caught me by surprise. “Are you sure?” he asked with a doubtful look on his face. The first retort that came to mind was, “Do I look feeble to you, kid?” Which was followed immediately by the thought, “Oh crap, maybe I do!”
I was 32 when my father died after a long struggle with cancer. Because he was ill for so long we had time to spend together saying what needed to be said. In essence, we grieved his death together. After he was gone I missed him terribly but my attention turned to meeting the needs of my mother and helping her adjust to life as a widow. When she died suddenly 11 years later I was totally unprepared for the devastating sense of loss I experienced. It wasn’t that I loved my mother more than I loved my dad. It was because it suddenly hit me that I was no longer anyone’s daughter. I was an orphan. (more…)
And you—what of your rushed and useful life?
Imagine setting it all down—papers, plans, appointments, everything—leaving only a note:
“Gone to the fields to be lovely.
Be back when I’m through blooming.”
—from Camas Lilies by Lynn Ungar
After a month on the road I’m beginning to understand what draws people to this lifestyle. A fellow traveler commented RVers are like turtles because we carry our homes with us and we move slowly. Usually my life is more like a sand crab than a turtle. Head down, I work furiously to finish my latest project. Digging fast enough opens a little well of time but it is instantly filled up with more things to do. Like the dogged little crab I rarely get out of the hole I’ve dug myself. One of the reasons I wanted to take this trip was to reconnect with my inner tortoise. (more…)
I had a bucket list long before I ever heard that term. As a child I dreamed of the places I would go and the adventures I would have. Many of my dreams have been realized and are are now treasured memories. But not all of them. And that’s why after my last birthday when I officially became a “senior” my husband and I decided it was time to get on with the list. (more…)
My father was tougher than nails and rarely sick before lymphoma took over. He fought it for a long time but the cancer inevitably won. We lived 200 miles from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and made many trips there while he was undergoing treatment. On one trip it was just Dad and I driving home from Houston. It was a moonless night with only the glow of the dash lights to relieve the darkness. Alone in our little cocoon he started to talk. He told me stories I’d never heard before and so many pieces of the mystery that was Dad fell into place. I would have given anything for an audio recorder but this was years before cell phones or digital recorders so I paid close attention to capture his voice in my memory. This is my favorite of the stories he told and the one I think best illustrates Dad’s optimistic character. (more…)
Her finger had not yet turned blue, but the threat was real and it throbbed in a constant, haunting echo saying “lose the ring, lose the ring.”
I had a relative who divorced his wife after more than 60 years of marriage. We all knew they’d been emotionally separated for years but I thought a divorce that late in the game was an odd move to make. Turns out I was wrong—it isn’t unusual at all. Baby boomers are ending their marriages in record numbers. (more…)
I’ll bet you thought this post was about the funeral industry, didn’t you? Nope. Maybe that will be a topic for another day if anyone is interested but today I want to talk about taking care of business before you die. (more…)
In a 2012 survey conducted by the Allianz Academy of Legacies, Baby Boomers were asked to rank their priorities when it comes to passing down an inheritance.This demographic ranked passing down family history and stories as far more important than leaving financial assets to heirs. Why then have so few people made provisions for this in their will or estate plan?