Yesterday was one fine day. I woke up in the morning to bright sunshine and not what the weatherman had predicted – fog and cold enough to become freezing fog. I had thought about riding my bike to the men’s breakfast, but the idea of adverse weather had stopped me in my tracks. The memory of a broken hip still has a very strong influence upon me.
Ending the week meeting with men for breakfast is a pleasure I look forward to. It gets me out of the house but also helps develop a support system if something were to happen. I have watched many men, who after retirement, did not develop something for themselves. My father was an example of what not to do.
After he retired my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. He spent all his time looking after and taking care of mom. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have, but he didn’t take care of himself either. He was a Freemason and he didn’t take time to re-establish those connections after their return to Oregon.
When mom passed in 1989 dad seemed lost. He could not sit still. He was always going some place and looking for something. If he was not gone from Prineville you might find him at home. He was not keeping it or himself up. Drinking and sitting home alone was taking a toll upon him.
He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in February 1992 and had surgery. He was not giving up because of the cancer but because he was lonely and missed mom. They had been married over forty years. Dad died 3 years and 3 months after mom died.
I am also a Freemason. My dad was there when I was raised. We attended lodge together whenever I came to Portland and when he came to Munich for a visit. We were both Masters of our lodge, though dad did not get to see me take my place in the East, and now I am acting treasurer. I am getting more active in my church. I have decided that I would not allow myself to fall into the same trap that enclosed around my dad. My plan is to surround myself with friends who I can count on to be a support network as I get older.