An evening to remember…Old friends…Memories of our old life…New memories to behold…

Wild turkeys are everywhere in the metro area. Sue took this photo for us this morning of this proud male. Great shot, Sue! Thanks for sharing it!

I don’t know where or how to begin. Saturday’s night’s get-together of old friends who just so happened to be our old neighbors left us reeling with a mix of laughter and tears.

The many years we spent together living on the peninsula, socializing with the utmost ease, regularly, and often with aplomb and style, were intermingled with some of the most candid and revealing conversations we’ve ever had with friends.

A portion of the living room in Sue’s new home.

The laughter came quickly, along with in-depth conversations about life, love, politics, world affairs, current affairs, science, medicine, and technology made for lively times together. At times, we were all talking simultaneously and oddly, grasping every word spoken.

We came to know each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies and yet, accepted and embraced them without judgment or critique, harshness or ridicule. That’s the way it was our friends on the point.

The dining area with a pass-through to the kitchen and custom-made cabinets for Sue’s exquisite glassware collection from all over the world.

Last night, when some of us gathered at Sue’s beautiful new home (Chip passed away in May 2012), we found ourselves laughing and crying as we relived memories of times since long past, of the commonality of our interests, of the fulfillment of our dreams.

Cozy banquette in kitchen.

Chip and Sue became our “role models” of how to spend retirement years, when they each found a comfortable place in their lives for personal growth and exploration, of new experiences they’d longed to incorporate in their pre-retirement lives, never quite having had the time. And, with a sense of adventure and sheer delight, they blissfully traveled together. We were intrigued.

When Chip passed away in May 2012, Sue chose to postpone the memorial service until friends and family could all attend to celebrate his meaningful and profound life. I was honored when Sue asked me to speak at the service.

The Monet-inspired decor was evident in the kitchen’s design.

Knowing how emotional it would be, I printed a copy of this tribute I’d written about him in a post dated June 1, 2012, which may be found here. Later, in July, I wrote this post describing the memorial service and the honor I felt in being asked to participate.

Chip’s sorrowful passing occurred after we’d decided to travel the world. The memorial service occurred only three months before we left to begin our journey. But, from there, both Tom and I experienced a powerful commitment to attempt to try to fill a tiny gap in Sue’s life by including hers in ours as much as possible.

Tom and I both felt totally at ease in Sue’s new home.

For all the fantastic times we’d spent as a foursome, we were left with a new series of memories in spending quality time with Sue every weekend before we left. If we could somehow, collectively share in the loss of this fine man and bring some healing to one another in the process, our leaving would become less painful. 

We’ve stayed in close touch with Sue and the other friends/neighbors during this past almost five years. We never felt as if we were too far away, and last night this was confirmed as we sat around that same gorgeous round table we’d all shared with Chip for decades as we all recapped our lives, our challenges, and the changes we’ve made as we’ve continued to learn and grow in these older years of our lives.

Nelleke and Dave brought craft beer made by our former neighbor at the Excelsior Brewing Company.

When Sue, Tom, and I finished the evening alone, filled with great conversation, appetizers, and drinks, the three of us poured out our hearts, unabashedly and unashamedly allowing the memories of times passed to flow, and the hopes and dreams for the future to fill in the hollow recesses of aching hearts. 

We’ve come full circle, and a new “normal” has emerged for Sue, Tom, and me. The healing has catapulted to a new level, and all of us are prepared and filled with a sense of abundance in carrying on, with memories of “old” firmly in place and “new” memories being built for the future.

Sue had saved a menu I created for a dinner party we hosted when she and Chip had returned after their winter holiday at their Florida home. We couldn’t believe she’d saved this!

We have another such night upcoming on July 1st when we’ll all meet at Jamie and Doug’s home for “happy hour” and a boat ride and then off to dinner at a local restaurant we all frequented in years past. We have no doubt, we’ll emerge from that evening with the same sense of wonder and gratitude we experienced last night.

Thank you, dear readers, for inspiring us to share these intimate thoughts in writing; of times, old and new, that will surely follow us well into the future.

Photo from one year ago today, June 19, 2016:

In Bali, the sunset view and reflection in the infinity pool. For more details, please click here.

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