IN A DREAM, I ran into Sandy in an airport. It was all so happenstance. I was walking through the crowd, looking for the people I’d come with, and an airline employee handed me something he thought I’d dropped. It was a boarding pass with Sandy’s name was on it. I looked around to see if she was there, and sure enough, she was.
IN REAL LIFE, Sandy is moving to Florida due to her husband’s job transfer. I guess that’s why I ran into her at the airport in my dream. She’s on her way there, at least in my mind.
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IN REAL LIFE HERE lately, we’ve been talking about retirement. On a recent trip, we allowed for an extra day and drove through a region, considering communities we might like to settle in. Choosing a community one has never lived in in a state one has never lived in – on purpose and not because a job is forcing you – seems a little strange to me. Why not settle in one of the places we have previously lived and loved, places where we have roots? (Answer: Because the people we love all live on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains and it might be more convenient if we did, too.)
My father had a retirement dream. He bought a piece of property in Florida and had the paper to prove it. The lot sat on the corner of Ruth Lane & Ruth Ave. My mother’s name was Ruth. That’s why he chose that corner.
“He’ll never do it,” my mother said. “He’ll never move.” Ten years after he was gone, she disposed of the property. It was still undeveloped.
Honestly, Wally and I never expected to be talking about retirement together. We never expected to be choosing a location, exploring communities, deciding whether we’re finally ready to have someone else tend to the mowing. Not since 2008, we haven’t expected it. Not since the CLL diagnosis. Retirement was 10 years off. Life expectancy, 5.
In 2010, a neighbor asked me, “Where do you and Wally think you’ll retire to?” and I had the same reaction I had when people asked where we were going for summer vacation. It took everything I had not to burst into tears. Our summer was eaten up by treatment appointments at the Medical Center.
But here we are, 2016, making plans for retirement. And we are grateful. We are getting to do the very thing we thought we wouldn’t get to do. It doesn’t always happen, but it makes me wonder. What else do I think I’ll never see happen in my life that I’m grieving in advance?