I used to call these “things” epiphanies. I don’t any more. I use the term “connecting the dots”. It seems to me that one could have only so many epiphanies in life, certainly no more than a handful. AND there was really no way, in my mind, to language around theIr magnitude. Large epiphany? Relatively unimportant epiphany? It just doesn’t work for me. With connecting the dots, there can be multiple dots. There can be large dots and small dots. There can be a small distance between or the smallest distance. THIS IS HOW MY CRAZY, ORGANIZED, CHAOTIC MIND WORKS.
Dad retired at 51 before FIRE was even a thing. AND, from my vantage point, he began his march toward death. Sometimes there were uphills and sometimes down. And make no mistake, it was a straight line. Physically he started to erode. Mentally, he was a finished product that only thought in ways that appeared selfish and focused on his comfort and pleasure. Rereading this sounds really harsh. I suppose it is, AND my ability to express his teachings would make him proud. To this day his approach to life from 51 to nearly 88 is with me and forms my very essence.
Mom was 48 when Dad retired. I was finally finding my way in life as a 24 year old that would graduate from Chico State at 25. I have such vivid memories of those days. If I can be allowed the latitude to use a bicycle as the vehicle that takes you through life, Chico State is a hub at the center of one of the wheels. The cycle surely isn’t a unicycle. It is at least a bicycle (2nd hub being “family”) and possibly a tricycle or even . . . One of the cherished memories of that time is a moment when Mom came to visit me to talk. Up to that point I had always called Mom and asked if I could come home for a short visit. She ALWAYS said yes. And I believe Mom always knew, in that way parents know, that I needed something. She had the patience of Jobe in those moments. I really hadn’t a clue why Mom wanted to visit. I just trusted her and always looked forward to our time together. And while the specifics of our discussion are not the point, I will say Mom was struggling AND wanted, no needed to talk and work it out in the way we always did. SHE ASKED ME!
To simplify things beyond reason, while Dad was devolving, Mom was evolving. It has taken me a long time to appreciate Dad for what he gave me. Believe me, my emotions over the years has swung wildly. I currently believe a gift they gave me was them in contrast to each other. Their relationship was complicated AND THROUGH IT THEY ALWAYS LOVED EACH OTHER.
I STRIVE TO EVOLVE.