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Old 08-13-2017, 08:40 PM
 
35 posts, read 23,583 times
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I realize this may not fit within the 'retirement forum" but think again- that it may be since- reading the sticky heading "please do not report all general threads as off topic, etc.". which suggested that everything in the retirement forum need not be about retirement per se. I put this here because it is age, but not necessarily retirement, related. If in the wrong place, I'm sure it will be moved.

This thread is for me and my personal realization as I approach retirement age that I have more of life's journey behind me than in front. I do not suggest that mine is any different than the next person's, it's just mine.

Eight days ago, I receive a phone call about a dear friend my age (61) who suddenly developed breathing problems and was in the hospital. Other than his having had a heart attack in the past and was insulin dependent, I don't know the specifics of his medical history. What I do know, is that this month last year he was part of a group of us that was cruising in the Caribbean and this month this year they pulled the plug on him because he was brain dead with no chance of recovery.

Our Bishop says that, in this life, we should make a memory every chance we get.

I am a grandmother. And as I look back over my life, I don't remember any memorable interactions with my grandmother nor my grandfather. We may have gone to their house and they to ours, but there is nothing really, intimately, memorable. Then I decided on a more recent recollection attempt involving my parents, and discovered I have no real memories of intimate moments with them either.

Recently my granddaughter asked me if I was coming to her cotillion. I was poised to say no, "because grandma has to work". Then it dawned on me that it could be the reason why I have few memories of intimate moments with my parents is that they always had to work. And then I with my own boys (when I became a single parent), recalled my answers to them were often; "No baby, mama has to work".

But now, I'm looking (or seeing) things differently. There was no reason why I shouldn't go to her cotillion. Grandma does not HAVE TO work. From this work I am debt free and have accumulated enough savings to hold me until social security starts. I stand on my feet nine hours a day, six days a week and I come home with aching legs and feet such that I just want to prop them up until the tingling stops. So I called out, dressed in my black attire and went to my baby's cotillion. I cried to see my son and his daughter dance together. I'm glad I went. Two weeks later, after much internal debate, I called out again and went to the beach with my babies. (They exclaimed "Yay!-grandma is coming" when they found out I would be coming with them.) We laid close enough for the waves to rush up over us, made sand meatballs for the "soup", and wrote our names in the sand. They had a blast (and I did too). They get to add that memory the snow angels and snowmen we made during the blizzard, the latest dances they try to teach me (I can do the "nay-nay and dab!) ), the songs we sing sitting out on the deck ("you put the lime in the cocoa nut" ) or the basketball that grandma cannot shoot (but talks plenty trash as if she were once a champion).

I will miss my friend and I know that one day, I too will go away. And it is my hope that until that time, I have the privilege of continuing to plant forever memories in the lives of my five grandchildren. I don't know if I'm looking for comments, or shared stories, or whatever. This writing for me, is just pure therapy.

RIP "Aloysius".
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,394 posts, read 9,141,441 times
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The answer is simple. On your deathbed will you say I am sure glad I passed up all of those life moments to make some extra money. Never too late to change and I see that you are at that point.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:34 AM
 
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Yes, but, I think my life lesson is not about working for "extra money" as much as having to work in general. Some people MUST work to survive, and it was for that reason I passed on so many memory making opportunities with my boys. BUT, that does not mean that MY boys won't have their own memories of their childhood, which of course, will be different than the memories of my grands (with grandma). For one, they may remember group hugs, laughing. singing, dancing (and other cost free memory makers) but they won't remember my struggle because they weren't aware of it like that. With kids of their own now they would understand.

I am grateful that I get an opportunity to live the "Cat's in the cradle" song- extended- where I get time to do some grandmother things that mother didn't have time to do because she was raising a family.

Last edited by Jill8312; 08-14-2017 at 12:35 AM.. Reason: un needed word
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,209,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
On your deathbed will you say I am sure glad I passed up all of those life moments to make some extra money.
I posted something similar on another thread and was challenged a couple of times on this. Evidently there are people on their deathbed wishing they worked more, made more money.

But I agree w/ you.

OP, interesting post. There are times when I bypassed the opportunity "to make memories" and regret it decades later.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:53 AM
 
659 posts, read 324,857 times
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OP, great softer topic for the Retirement forum. I had shared custody of my 2 sons who are now 32 and 34. We laughed this weekend over some of the wonderful memories we have. Like the time when they were 7 and 9 and inexperienced me decided they should learn how to fish. I went to K-Mart, bought all the gear, and we went to a stream in my Western NJ town and we actually caught some fish! The hard part was when we got home and they were still moving. I had to stun them with a hammer. The kids refused to eat the fish, Mom murdered them! HaHa!
Thinking back, when they were children/teens I tried to provide the kind of memories/activities that their father could not or would not do. As adults, I took them and their families on several free cruises and vacations, just so we had some special memories to share. The good times where I could afford to do this every year have ended, because I don't have the Big job anymore. They don't know that I have a stash of money reserved for one more family vacation, hopefully to coincide with a big birthday I am having next year.

Your Bishop is correct, its the Memories that our important. I want to be in my 2 grand children's lives as much as I can, where possible.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:45 AM
 
12,692 posts, read 14,074,796 times
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Jill8312 I enjoyed your OP very much, and I especially when you took the two days off at different times in order to be part of a memorable day, and to give it a boost by your being there and making it a different day because you were there. Being with the children on the beach, that was such a lovely story.

In my experience most wonderful memories came on the fly. I am seventy-nine, by the way. I find that so many of those supposedly memorable family holidays and get-togethers are not lodged in my memory. Most of those Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays of family celebration have just blurred into one indistinguishable celebration.

My father worked 24/7 until I was a teenager, and because of this he was for most of my early years a transient presence. He was wrapped in a thick cloak of silence most of the time, and spoke about little that was personal. What I remember from my mother is what I picked up by shutting up and listening when she launched into one of her operatic arias of gossip with a neighbor or sister.

It seems that my most wonderful memories, and ones that may have lived on for others, came about more by happenstance. You spoke of not having memories of grandparents. I am fortunate because while both grandfathers were gone, my grandmothers lived on until I was in my twenties and I have memories of both of them. My step-grandmother in particular wove an endless story of her life and ours. But many of these memories are of accidental events. I was there when my step-grandmother, who was supposedly in a coma, actually heard a complimentary remark that my mother and a sister made about her "lovely hands." And unexpectedly she asked, "Who was that?" The startled women answered, "The girls." And she responded, with a drawn-out, pleasure-filled," Oooooh.....I always thought they didn't like me." And something close to thirty years of totally undeserved ingratitude had been casually blown away.

My other widowed grandmother escaped the care of one hyper-conservative daughter for a short vacation with her other daughter and her kids. My cousins took her drag racing, and she was taken into custody by the police who caught the kids dragging. They reported she was the one dropping the signal flag for each race to begin. My mother could only gasp, "Oh my God, what will Geneva say," thinking of the eruption that would come from my grandmother's first daughter. This grandmother was also the one who overturned the outdoor privy because her husband wouldn't let the family use the new indoor plumbing, but it was blamed on the kids. However, she manipulated them and lied to her husband, stage managing a pious maternal deceit which rescued the boys from the strap and got the family using the indoor toilet. My uncles and father recounted the story - and it was often - in her presence with great humor. I loved to watch her: she dismissed it as a pack of rubbish with massively unconvincing hauteur, which made even that same conservative daughter roll her eyes in disbelief.

I think you can also spread wonderful, enlightening memories to people who you are only passing along with for a bit in life.

I used to soda jerk in the drug store where I worked as a kid. One of the customers was reputedly a former big city streetwalker, who had married a not very bright local farmer. They had two children and lived in jolly disarray in a falling down farm house. Nobody made her phosphates as sour as I did, she would smack her tongue and I was her dumb and handsome obliging audience as she sat on her stool and made witty remarks and ribald comments. And when I took to visiting them on their farm, she would sit me down in their broken down parlor, while her adoring husband stood against the wall, and she gave me bawdy lectures about life that were to serve me well later on. In the meantime, my parents said nothing about life but, "No!"; which was not as good ballast as Peg's cargo of hard knocks, hard rocks, and pretty shimmering trash that was never called anything but gaudy folly.

I volunteered for an AIDS organization many years ago, and did clinical intakes sometimes. One day at work at my college a young guy stuck his head in the door and asked if I remembered him. I didn't, but I faked it until I did. Ah,yes, James. He kept stopping by, sometimes he had homework to do, and I said he could use an empty desk in a room with a bunch of staff. Before long I discovered that people were talking to him, and it seemed a lot of them knew who he was. I had no free time, but he would show up with tickets to stuff that he got free and ask it I had time to go. So, OK, yeah...and now I was having a social life and seeing plays and hearing music all of a sudden. His 85-year-old father came from a small town in the Midwest to stay with him in his one-room apt. in a bldg. with addicts, an awful neighborhood at night. His father sat at the head of his fold-out bed as he died in that squalid apt., and I sat beside James. Then I had to call the police, who had to come to and certify that it was a straightforward natural death and take photos. A totally wretched and shattering experience for this elderly sheltered man. James was cremated and I arranged a funeral for him at a very small church.

Before the service began a few people from the AIDS organization and a guy from the City Welfare department were there, and then people began coming in at the back. One and two and more and more. They were the people from my office. I had never suggested they come, never thought to ask them...but they knew what I had arranged and just showed up on their own! Almost forty. When the urn was given to his father and he walked down the aisle to the church door, he stood there and waited while all these strangers gave him condolences on the death of his son. And suddenly he was smiling, he was happy. A church full of his son's friends had shown up and a long line of people who had liked and would miss his son. And me, I remember this red-headed guy who just showed up at my office one day, and kept dragging me out of my own grim volunteer and work life and gave me a social life and fun for the first time in a very long time. And it started for his father, and for me, because a James decided to stick his head in my office door and ask, "Do you remember me?"

We can make lots of our accidental crossings with each other into great memories, I think, if we can sometimes just go with the momentum of an improbable connexion.
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia/South Jersey area
2,875 posts, read 1,403,268 times
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OP, so for me the issue has become,
1) how to make my "everyday" special and
2) how to do the work/life balance.

So I am a widow and previous posters are correct, when I was in my young widow classes not one of us wished we had more money. what we did do was agree that we would give up every red cent to have more time with our loved ones.

but one day I asked my sons what were some of their best memories with their dad. I expected to hear about family vacations to Disney or big Christmases. The most memorable memory? weekly pizza night with dad when I was on 2nd shift. specifically Dad telling them "don't tell mom we had junk food". lol which I figured out after the 2nd time they had pizza.

Now it's a bit different with grandkids because they don't live with you but the point is you don't need a "cotillion" to make memories. on your next weekend off, go grab your grandbaby and have some serious 'grandma/granddaughter" time.
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:02 AM
 
35 posts, read 23,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza61nyc View Post
OP, so for me the issue has become,
1) how to make my "everyday" special and
2) how to do the work/life balance.

So I am a widow and previous posters are correct, when I was in my young widow classes not one of us wished we had more money. what we did do was agree that we would give up every red cent to have more time with our loved ones.

but one day I asked my sons what were some of their best memories with their dad. I expected to hear about family vacations to Disney or big Christmases. The most memorable memory? weekly pizza night with dad when I was on 2nd shift. specifically Dad telling them "don't tell mom we had junk food". lol which I figured out after the 2nd time they had pizza.

Now it's a bit different with grandkids because they don't live with you but the point is you don't need a "cotillion" to make memories. on your next weekend off, go grab your grandbaby and have some serious 'grandma/granddaughter" time.



I think you are being very presumptuous. You do not know who I live with. Nor do you know how I spend time with my grandkids, Neither was the point of my thread.
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Florida -
8,763 posts, read 10,840,630 times
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OP: What a profound, timely and wonderfully expressed realization --

IMO, far too many do what they "have to do" and put-off what they "want to do" before retirement ... only to discover they have lost many opportunities that will never come again.

Others put-off retirement itself, for the sake of saving more money, ... only to discover they are no longer able to do or enjoy many of the things on their "bucket list"
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,735,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill8312 View Post
I think you are being very presumptuous. You do not know who I live with. Nor do you know how I spend time with my grandkids, Neither was the point of my thread.

What's with the nasty tone? That person was just relating her own experiences.
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