Grim Reality

I am just one of so many blogs written by retirees – our focus on maintaining an active and relevant lifestyle.  We are not ready or content to sit back idly with our thoughts locked in the memories of our youth, watching the world go by without us.

We are carving out new chapters.

However, there is another side of retirement that is rarely talked about – that grim reality of aging.  We start to lose those near and dear to us.

People who have shared adventures with us.  People who have made the world a brighter place for having been a part of it.

I was lucky to have taken early retirement in my mid-50s.  The past 6 years have been full of laughter, new discoveries, and escapades … but I’ve also attended a shocking number of funerals and memorials.

Yes, there is the inevitable passing of the generation before us … our aging parents and those of our friends … but with greater and alarming frequency, I am saying farewell to a friend.

Each occurrence creates a tsunami of emotion, reflection, and yes – even fear.

Today is one of those days.

Shortly before dawn on this gray summer morning, another friend slipped away.  He left behind the broken hearts of his family and friends … and so many memories of his ever-present smile.

Rest In Peace, Lester.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Memories, Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

113 Responses to Grim Reality

  1. kertsen says:

    I’m 75 so the grim reaper is getting closer but we must not cling to life. Our time is short like everybody’s ; and why should we be special?

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I guess I don’t quite understand your comment. I was trying to express the sadness and emotional discomfort that comes from saying the final good-bye to dear friends.
      I don’t get the connection to trying to cling to life.

      Like

      • kertsen says:

        I was just trying to balance our views on death and to get some perspective on a very important subject , that we fight shy of discussing. Of course our lives and the lives of those near and dear are important to us but not in the great scheme of things.
        ‘ And fear not lest Existence
        Closing your account ,and mine , should
        Know the like no more;
        The Eternal Saki from that
        Bowl has pour’d
        MILLIONS of bubbles like us ,
        and will pour.’

        Like

        • Joanne Sisco says:

          Ahhh – so we are on the same page – it is an important subject and yet we – at least those of us in the West – shy away from the discussion.
          I love the quote, especially the visual of millions of bubbles ‘like us’.
          Thanks for the comment and coming back to clarify for me 🙂

          Like

  2. theadultlab says:

    Sorry about your friend. This is a common thing that we never talk about but death happens to everyone. The best cure is to live and enjoy your life as much as you can.

    Like

  3. Barbed Words says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend. We’ve also lost a couple of friends this year and it really does make you think about where life is taking you. Hope the funeral isn’t too difficult and you get to share happy memories of Lester x

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  4. Joanne, you are quite right that the process of aging and the post retirement phase of one’s life inevitably leads to the experience of losing loved ones. That said, there is a positive dimension to this reality. On one hand, it does make one appreciate the joys of current life which can be had at any age, pre or post retirement, but also you refer to a process that is predictable. One grows old, if one is lucky, and dies.

    We have lived in regions of the world where there are so many civil wars,/military conflict, lethal accidents based on security we take for granted (roadside accidents, collapsing buildings, infant mortality), natural disasters….. So dying of old age, in this context, is somewhat of a privilege. That said, it is always hard to lose loved ones. So sorry for your loss.

    Ben

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  5. Rest in peace Lester x beautiful words Joanne. Here’s to making everyday count and here’s to beautiful smiles like your friend Lester’s. If I was close I’d have the kettle on, a packet of Timtams and a box of tissues x

    Like

  6. restlessjo says:

    Excuse my flippant comment to Jude. I try to keep the lighter side going, though it isn’t always easy. Yesterday I was on my way to hospital with flowers for a dear friend who had suffered a stroke. I was at the bus station, waiting to change buses, when I got a call from her sister. ‘Don’t go, Jo! They are taking her to theatre and it’s critical’. She has made it through the night and family are gathered, hoping and praying. It’s life, sadly. So sorry for your loss.

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  7. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It is true that as we age we will be saying goodbye more and more. Sending big hugs and heartfelt sympathy. Xo

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  8. LB says:

    Joanne, you are the third blogger in the last two days that I have seen post about losing a friend. Your post outlines the blessings of aging – the freedom to explore and learn and grow – but also the sadness and loss.
    Thinking of you, and wishing you peace

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It is true that there are always 2 sides to everything – the positive and the negative.
      Aging is a privilege and many don’t get to experience it, but those that do feel the pain and sadness, as well as the freedom.

      Like

  9. Mama Cormier says:

    So sorry for your loss, Joanne. I’ve recently lost two friends who were a year younger than me. About 5 years ago a group of us from high school reconnected and every time we get together we seem to add another person. Hopefully the odds are in our favour of living longer.

    Like

  10. So sorry to hear of your loss. Losing friends is hard at any stage of our lives, but especially so as we age.

    Like

  11. I remember my grandparents talking about the people they knew disappearing, and now my parent’s generation is dwindling. Mine isn’t far behind. It is scary, Joanne. It’s also what makes this life so precious, and a reason not to let one day slip by unnoticed. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. ❤

    Like

  12. bikerchick57 says:

    Joanne, I’m so sorry you’ve lost a dear friend. Hugs to you. I imagine you have many fond memories of Lester to hold close in your mind and heart.

    Like

  13. Heyjude says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. I lost a good friend a couple of years ago, and my brother five years ago, both in their 60s. Once upon a time that was seen as a good age. Today it seems awfully young.

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  14. daisymae2017 says:

    Glad you’re enjoying your early retirement but sorry you are going to so many funerals.

    Like

  15. traceystubbs says:

    Condolences. It’s hard losing friends and family. I appreciate that you posted this in your “retirement” blog. I try so hard to keep mine focused on happy, funny retirement stuff. You gave me the courage to push something out on mine that doesn’t really meet my intended purpose. I’m learning that retirement, like life, is about everything, right?

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      That’s exactly it. I have seen all kinds of posts about helpful-hints-to-a-successful-blog that suggest a blog should have a laser focus on one subject, but I figure it’s my blog and my rules.
      The way I look at it is that our blog is our personal space to be whatever we need/want it to be.
      I think the key word in your blog title is *creative* 😉

      Like

  16. Margie in Toronto says:

    Very sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. It is indeed happening more and more often these days and it certainly brings our own mortality in to focus. I have lost two close friends in the past few years and it is certainly scary when it’s your own generation and not your parents or grandparents. I think your blog illustrates how best to forge ahead and not to waste the time we have – so thank you.

    Like

  17. The Widow Badass says:

    So sorry for your loss Joanne. Every day I wake up happy to be alive, and also missing people who are no longer. It comes with the territory I guess.

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  18. Very sorry for your loss.
    I hope to ‘retire’ early myself. Meaning I’d like to make money from something I love, on my own time schedule 😉
    I sadly, lost 3 of my best (longest) friends in my early 40’s. All due to disease. Its sad.
    I hope to outlive all my friends, so they don’t have to go to my funeral 😉

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      No one should have to bury one good friend in their early 40s, let alone 3. That is very tragic.

      It sounds like you are planning to age like me – kicking and screaming all the way 😉

      Like

  19. Dan Antion says:

    I am sorry for your loss Joanne. It’s so hard to lose friends. It saddens us and it reminds us of the process of life. Our thoughts are with you today.

    Like

  20. Purpleanais says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Joanne – virtual hugs

    Like

  21. So sorry for your loss Joanne…my thoughts are with you. It is such a priviledge to grow older… I do my utmost to embrace it and make the most of what he have in front of us, the present moment. Which is all we really have.

    Peta

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      You said it perfectly Peta – growing old is a privilege, and one that many never get to experience. I guess that’s why it tends to annoy me when I see those who waste their time constantly whining and complaining about something.

      Like

  22. RuthsArc says:

    Beautiful words, Joanne. Thoughts and hugs to you all.

    Like

  23. nrhatch says:

    Sorry to hear about Lester’s passing ~ it’s odd when people “our age” start to die from “old age.”

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It seems that my concept of “old age” is getting pushed further into the distance – as well as my concept of youth. I know think of someone in their 40s as *young* 🙂

      Like

  24. I am sorry for your loss Joanne. Time has this habit of moving steadily forward at an alarming rate. I hope you find peace in the memories that you shared with Lester. ❤

    Like

  25. Oh Joanne, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. You are right, it brings the reality close to home.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      When you suddenly find yourself at the front of the line because all the generations before you have now passed, the reality is a little frightening.

      It’s then made worse when friends of your own generation start to pass as well.

      I’m not ready to be that grown-up!

      Like

  26. Luanne says:

    I am sorry about the loss of your friend, Lester. I don’t write too much about aging on my blog, but I just turned 62, and for the past year I am really feeling it. It happened rather suddenly that I just feel all the aches and pains and problems. But if I write about it on my blog I might not shut up! I am finding that I am absolutely not gracious about aging. What a poor sport.

    Like

  27. Jeanne says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Joanne…your words are beautiful and reflect the love and honesty in your heart.

    Like

  28. Su Leslie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Joanne. There is nothing I can add to the eloquence of others here.

    Like

  29. JT Twissel says:

    So sorry for your loss. I know what you mean. Sometimes I read the obits and find out someone I knew well years ago has passed. Never easy.

    Like

  30. iglengel says:

    So sorry for your loss. You are right though, no matter how good we may think we feel, losing a good friend, loved one, or relative at this time of our lives does wake us up to the reality of what lies ahead. In less than two years, we lost a cousin, brother-in-law, a sister-in-law, a sister, and a cousin’s husband. Just reinforces my rule of living each day to the fullest and as though it might well be our last. One never knows. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  31. Mara Eastern says:

    My condolences. It’s these personal tragedies that I think are the worst kind.

    Like

  32. joey says:

    I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend. I’m glad you’ll remember his smile.
    It seems to me I’m in the stage where couples get divorced, kids move away, and parents pass on. That’s just looking at a cross-section the last few years. It’s unfortunate not all of time’s markers are happy. :/

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      You’re right – we do go through these various stages in our life … all our friends are getting boy/girl friends, then getting married, then having babies. Now you’re riding the couples-splitting-up stage and kids moving away.

      There’s a lot about this particular stage that I really like … but then there’s the inevitable downsides of aging that really sucks 😦

      Like

  33. I’m sorry for your loss. We’ve had two good friends pass this summer. It seems like the tables are turning to losing more than those that are here. Sad state of affairs but definitely part of the aging process. I guess the reality of our own loss makes the blogging friendships all the more special. Take care. 🙂

    Like

  34. I’m so sorry about your loss. Your post is a good reminder for us all that our good health (if we are lucky to have it) won’t last forever and we need to embrace the life we have now.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. So sorry to hear Joanne!

    Like

  36. Tippy Gnu says:

    It’s tough to lose someone close. And you’re right about losing those of our own generation–I’ve noticed the same thing. It leaves me expecting that one morning I’m going to open the newspaper and find my own obit.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. So sorry that you, your friends, and family are dealing with loss. Death is always so rudely abrupt, whether we see it coming or not. Be well, and thanks for sharing, Joanne.

    Like

  38. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    Like

  39. N. N. Light says:

    I am so sorry about your loss, Joanne. Yes, unfortunately that is a reality for many retirees. Although, I am in my late 40’s, in the past few years, I’ve had five close-friends/family members my age die from stress-related things. It reminds me how important it is to take care of my health.

    Sending hugs, love and light your way.

    MRS N

    Like

  40. Joe says:

    So sorry for the loss of your friend Joanne. Like you I am also enjoying my retirement (although I am nowhere near as active as you are). I think this blogging adventure is keeping us all younger at heart. I retired in my late 50’s because of my lower back problems which keeps me from active like you are. Don’t get me wrong I could still get around so I’m nowhere near being a couch potato and crapping my pants 😀 Please try to put that visual out of your mind !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Got it – no crappy pants 😉

      I’m constantly reminded that there are always 2 sides – the good and the bad, the happy and sad. I do think our blogs help keep us younger at heart and I try not to dwell on the gloomy side, but some days are harder than others.

      Today I am reminded of the expression – a joy shared is double, a sadness shared is halved.

      Liked by 2 people

  41. I am so sorry for your loss. My brother who is in his upper 80s always says that he has a funeral a week to attend. I tell him as long as it’s not his, it’s ok. Death is a painful reality and I remember when I started to lose classmates. Not a lot, just one now and then. Now I am like my mother scouring the obits for people I know. This was beautifully written and oh so true.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Oh Kate – so true. The growing frequency is what becomes unnerving. We’re at the top of the totem pole now and this is just becoming part of our new reality.

      I remember my dad saying – many, many years ago – that he was old on the outside, but still very young on the inside.

      I don’t like it. Not one little bit.

      Like

  42. Relax... says:

    Oh, dear.. my sincere condolences, Joanne. ❤ We're sort of a different type of sandwich generation, now — we've lost those before us, and we're losing those from our latter timelines, now, too.. It's one of the most natural things in all of life, and yet it feels so completely unnatural, even utterly impossible that someone is suddenly gone from our shared life, here. 😦 I'm so sorry for your and everyone's loss of Lester.

    Like

  43. “Death is a distant rumor to the young. Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”

    I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

    Liked by 2 people

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