Tag Archives: Retirement

Thanks for giving us the good life, Barb.

1 Feb

This is not my usual posting, but it is important to me! All those who have lost a loved one will understand.

Tomorrow would have been my sister’s 61st birthday. She died in 2005 and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. She was not only my older sister but my best friend as well.

My sister, Barbara

Things didn’t start out well. When she was 5 and the apple of everyones eye,  my Mother came home from the hospital with me and asked if she wanted to see me. Her answer was a resounding NO! The battle was on, with my poor eldest sister, Anne, not really sure how to deal with us. We spent the first 18 years of my life, literally trying to kill one another. We came damn close a couple of times, but we’d both learned to duck fast! Then my parents retired, sold the family home and moved to an island. We ended up moving in with one another in a house with 2 other girls and it became us against the world. We soon became each others best friend!

Have you ever known someone so well that you could argue a point vociferously and yet know when to draw the line? We did! Our husbands (both named Richard) would watch in horror as our conversation would get louder and louder. They were sure we were going to come to blows and brace themselves to tear us apart only to watch in amazement as we would suddenly stop arguing and start laughing.

We solved all the problems of the world between us but we couldn’t solve Pancreatic Cancer. From diagnosis to death Barb had a year and for the last 6 months I stayed by her side looking after her as her husband had predeceased her by 4 years and they had no children of their own. It was a sad and ugly time for both of us…and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything on earth. I had time to return to her all the love she and her husband had lavished on me and my children. I cared for her as if she was my child and I was able to say goodbye, though it was the very last thing I wanted to do.

Barbara and her husband Richard, took our daughters every summer for at least a couple of weeks. They spent so much time with them that they referred to them as Mom and Dad #2, and depending on which city they were visiting, thought nothing of asking them for the same type of help they would have asked us for.  Both were so heartbroken when the two of them died as neither lived to see the girls marry or have children of their own and I know that still saddens them. Our youngest even have a vase inscribed with Barbara and Richard’s names, sitting at the table with the guest book at her wedding, so that in some sense, they could both be in attendance.

My daughters, with their Uncle Richard

Richard and I had planned on retiring at 55 in 2010. Barbara’s death made it possible for us to retire in 2006. I have always believed that when one door closes, another opens and Barb opened one for us with her passing.

She left both myself and my oldest sister an inheritance. It wasn’t really large, but it was enough for Richard and I to get free and clear of all our debt. Added to the sale of our home and belongings and invested wisely it was enough to let us retire and see us through until Richards pension came  in at 55.

So, thanks to the death of my sister, Richard and I got to hit the road earlier than expected, where we could live the lifestyle that we currently enjoy. Yet nothing would make me happier than to have Barb back again. That way she she could come to Baja to explore and enjoy it with us! I would have happily worked those 5 years more, if only I could have her here on the beach with me now, enjoying a Scotch and telling me how beautiful it all is, as I’m sure she would have loved it.

So here’s to my sister Barbara, I can’t tell you how much I miss you girl. I really wish you were here, but because you’re not, all I can say is thank you for being such a great, big sister and looking out for me even after the end.

I will raise a glass of Scotch for you tomorrow and wish you Salainte Mahud, where ever you are!