A Tandakoan’s Reflection on an Obituary

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  Check out my interview on November 20, 2018 (top few paragraphs) in an article in Moneyish.com, a Dow Jones Media Group Publication: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-nearly-3-in-4-women-say-70-is-the-new-50—-but-far-fewer-men-do-2018-11-20  (Correction:  I was a probation officer in Los Angeles, not San Francisco.)

Now, on to my blog:

TandakoanI opened an email from my longtime, high school  girlfriend, Sheila.  Part of it read, “this was surprising in today’s newspaper.”  There was an attachment, so I clicked on it to find an obituary with a photograph of a woman I didn’t recognize.

As I read further, I realized she had been a classmate of ours, and we had all graduated high school together.  This is the patch from my class sweater of the emblem from our senior class: the Tandakoans, which I’ve saved for fifty-nine years.

Why do we keep such trivial objects?  Probably because they are symbols of passage.  Passages are events that mark major turning points in our lives.  Among all the minutiae of our existence that are quickly forgotten, these are the happenings that we remember year after year. We might celebrate or bemoan them in a ceremonial manner on special anniversaries.

I remember when I turned fifty, Sheila organized a Brownie Troop reunion.  Those attending showed up with photographs of our troop members, Brownie and Girl Scout badges, and other nostalgic items they had kept for decades. Our lives are filled with passages.  An obituary marks the final one.

I hadn’t seen Judy since graduation, but I remembered her as a bouncy girl with a quick smile and a ponytail.  The obituary said she had died following a long battle with ovarian cancer.  One by one, our ranks are thinning.  Reading about Judy, I couldn’t stave off thoughts of: when will it be my turn?

Does that frighten me; does that concern me?  Yes and no.  I’m frightened of the unknown, but not of the finality of it, maybe because I don’t even understand what that means.

Can I choose how to make my final passage?  I certainly don’t want the path that Judy took or anything like it.  Living my life to the fullest and going suddenly in my sleep is my preferred choice.  But, all I can do is hope for that and do the living-my-life-to-the-fullest part in the meantime.


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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness

2 responses to “A Tandakoan’s Reflection on an Obituary

  1. Patricia Spiegel

    Love it. Passages. I cannot believe the little things I have saved.

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