Thursday was Soon-ok's last day on the job at UCLA. She's retired after 32 years' service (and that's not counting breaks in employment as she had a child and worked outside the UC system for a while).
She's happy, I'm happy, I'm especially happy for her.
She has earned her right to a restful retirement (tho it's taken all I can do to keep her from immediately digging up the patio area to get started with her gardening).
We have some board strokes for our future planned out, but we're going to stay flexible. We're looking forward to being grandparents, we're hoping for the opportunity to travel, but mostly we're looking forward to having more time together.
Even if we aren't doing something together, just being under the same roof with one another is a warm, fulfilling feeling.
I love you, honey!
...and I am looking forward to our life together
but I also know the reality
we will grow old, our health will decline
and while there will be much joy and much love, there will be no escaping pain and sorrow
I have lost my father, my mother, my grandmother
I have no fear of death, I feel safe in the hands of God
but there will be agony and loss and no way to avoid it
when I was a child, I couldn't imagine my parents dying
as a teen and a young adult, I could intellectually accept the idea, but the emotional part never really sank in
in my middle age I came to accept the fact that my parents would eventually slip away
I am glad in both cases thew went peacefully, without much physical agony
but we knew they were going, we knew they were dying
32+ years ago neither Soon-ok nor I could really envision her retirement
and yet...here it is
sooner or later all things some to pass
and that grim, grim moment we all dread will eventually arrive, that moment when one of us must stay and watch the other be lowered into the grave
I will not live in fear, I will not live in anxiety
that day will come, and we will prepare for it as best we can
but until it arrives I will live and I will love the most precious person I have on this planet
in the end the grave will claim us, but love will never let us go