Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II – At the End of the Yellow Brick Road

on June 18, 2014

A fierce gust of honesty with myself blew me onto this road. Something as simple and true as longing for my family hit me with the realization that if I did not leave my second husband I would regret it at my life’s end. My marriage to him was full of illusions. It was time to look this thing in the eye, take a deep breath, and sally forth.

I landed in an apartment on the fourth floor of The Greenbriar that my daughter-in-law found for me. From my windows in summer I can see the upper branches of an oak tree where squirrels build their nests, the garden patio, and the blue, blue water of the swimming pool. What I like best about the pool, besides getting into it, is the sound of children having fun and the smell of food cooking on the gas grill by the patio tables. The patio in winter has a beauty all its own.

In the apartment lobby there is a round glass table where tenants leave things they don’t want anymore, a sort of impromptu rummage sale where everything is free. I call it the “manna table”. I’ve acquired a beautiful cobalt blue bottle and a Chinese vase that I put on my window ledge. In late December when I was in need of a calendar for the New Year I found an AARP calendar on the table, which now hangs on my kitchen wall. It’s a great place to re-gift things.

I love this place – the view from my windows, the fun of the pool, the whimsical extras like the manna table. (I haven’t told you how all-out the apartment managers go decorating the lobby for the holidays. It’s wild.) My daughter-in-law found me a great place to live. It is a wish come true to be near family. Neither one of us had any idea that I would find a whole life of my own as well.

Shortly after I moved in I joined a group of women who play word games in the afternoon. Most of them moved here after the death of a spouse years ago. I’m practically the baby of the bunch and I was seventy-five when I met them. We’ve all chosen to leave behind houses. We expect to live here for the foreseeable future. That’s a given. We accept ourselves as marvelously gifted with still being alive. We share belly laughs over things we forget that we expect to recall later, and do. We pay little attention to the shape of aging bodies and the accompanying inconveniences. We live in the moment playing our game – flexing broad vocabularies gained from years of reading, creating words, even making up words not in the Scrabble dictionary. We are loose with rules. And we collaborate with each other, in myriad ways. We recognize ourselves as an NORC, or Naturally Occurring Retirement Community. I’m still healthy and able to be independent – for now. When that changes I will not be alone. My family will not be alone either. We will have the love and support of my Greenbriar friends.

I’m amazed to have found a new life for myself. I always believed that there must be something worth while about the last stages of life, or why did they exist? I didn’t imagine the freedom of these years, the audacity of saying what’s on my mind. the joy in small things, the love I experience for the peoples and lands of the earth that overwhelms me, the tears I weep for those who suffer. I am deeply grateful to be alive.

8 responses to “Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II – At the End of the Yellow Brick Road

  1. I like it! Full of life and optimism! Forward is the only way!

  2. Chaos Girl says:

    I love this post V – it feels like you found your stride, or settled into your true voice, writing it. Beautiful to read πŸ™‚

  3. Redg Camarse says:

    Your posts are one of the non-fiction narratives that I really enjoy here in Writing 101. πŸ™‚ And I agree, this post is very positive and inspiring. πŸ™‚ Keep on keeping on!

  4. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks for reading. I plan to keep on keeping on writing.

  5. kategresham says:

    You’re seventy-five!!! How wonderful. You write so very well and have such a fresh outlook. I am in awe. Thanks for liking my summer solstice post.

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