We spent this past weekend in Victoria, BC, watching our youngest son, Creighton, compete in a half marathon. A priority for our retirement years is to attend family events as often as we can.
It was a beautiful weekend—with our dog in tow. While waiting for Creighton to pass by the 16 K loop, we spotted an ocean view bench with a bouquet of flowers. That type of sight always saddens me. This time, it hit me even harder. The bench was dedicated to Taylor, who was born in 1988 – the exact same year that Creighton was born. She died in 2004. That would mean she was just sixteen years old. I shuddered. How much in my own sons’ lives have I taken for granted that Taylor and her family have missed?
I became lost in a mixture of emotions — sadness and joy, fear and gratitude. My husband called my name, jolting me from my introspection. Our son was running past.
Creighton finished the race in second place (21 K in just 1 hour and 18 minutes). Without him knowing anything about the memorial that we had seen, he thanked us for being at the race for him.
My major realizations in retirement include: Life is short; family is everything; gratitude makes us truly alive. I never want to lose this perspective.