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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Life’s a beach Part 2: Goodbyes and new beginnings

Aug 25, 2023 10:59AM ● By Jan Weeks

Editor’s note: Jan Weeks has been a dedicated BEACON contributor for over 13 years. Follow her three-part series as this widowed septuagenarian writes about uprooting, navigating change and preparing for an even better next chapter. Read part 1 in the July issue.

Lifes a Beach Part 1

Life's a Beach Part 1

Follow along this widowed septuagenarian’s 3-part series about uprooting, navigating change and preparing for an even better next chapter Read More » 

The house is sold. Inspections, appraisals and all the legalities are finally finished. The new owners are young and eager to move into their first home. Best of all, they love the yard and garden that I spent 21 years digging, planting and maintaining. 

Fruit and shade trees replaced dead apple trees on my one-third of an acre. A cold frame and raised beds keep vegetables coming year round, and wildflowers and “tame” ones blooming abundantly. Pecans, peaches and apples will continue to feed the new owners—soon-to-be newlyweds—while the shade trees grow and turn the patio into a private nook.

What remained of my furniture, plus boxes and more boxes of books, tools, clothes and basically anything that wouldn’t be able to fit in my car on the final drive over, are now in my 11-by-11-foot bedroom in San Rafael, California. Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I drove a 16-foot rental truck for two days, making me realize that maybe, just maybe, I’m a little over the hill—or a lot of them—for such a long drive. 

The third morning, I hopped on a plane in San Francisco to come back to a mostly empty house to water and maintain the yard, and to say my final farewells to friends. A lawn chair mimicked a sofa, a TV tray pretended to be a desk and an air mattress faked being a bed. 

I alternated between memories of joy, security, sorrow and pain in the house where my late husband invited our toddler great-nephew to “Get over here, boy, and let me whup you!”—and Jax flung himself on his great-uncle, pretending to be a WWF hero. Where friends came for cocktails and conversations. Where I learned to use swamp coolers, irrigation pumps and power tools. Where cancer took my husband Rocky away from suffering and away from me. 

The peaceful home I created and a yard transformed from weeds and dead trees into a gardener’s dream is now a memory, too. 

My sister Joyce and I will spend our remaining years together, filled with new experiences. I’ve “inherited” another yard to transform and a kitchen where I can cook for two or more, not just for me. There are more hikes, movie theaters, art galleries and museums to explore. 

The final two weeks of waiting let me gradually say goodbye to the peaceful home I made mine so many years ago, and to all the friends whom I’ll miss and who will miss me. 

Now a Californian, I stand hands on hips, surveying boxes stacked as tall as I am, wondering where to start. Pick a box, any box, I think, and reach for one labeled “sweaters.” Tape rips, flaps open and drawers begin to fill.

I must have left my crystal ball behind, because I have no clue what will happen next. I’ll take one step, then another one—steps that take me into the future. The only thing I know for sure is that we all will remember the times alone and the times together, the good times and the bad, and that life always leads us to endings and beginnings. And that we all will laugh, mourn, survive and relish whatever comes our way.

Keep an eye out for part 3 in November’s BEACON. 

Read more of Jan Week's articles

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