Who Are You?

Many years ago, a friend told me about an outing she took her Mother, and elderly Uncle on. Both were suffering from Alzheimer’s. She buckled both into backseats and climbed into the front seat. She looked into the rear-view mirror just as her Mom tapped the Uncle’s shoulder and asked, “Do you know who that is?” while pointing to the front seat. Her brother, my friend’s Uncle replied, “No” to which my friend’s Mother replied, “Neither do I.”

This morning, someone asked me, “Who are you?” When I realized it was my reflection in the mirror, I got worried. Being worried was a consolation, because it provided me with a response: “I’m someone who’s known far and wide as a world-class worrier.” Despite my ability to respond to the question, I am in the midst of an identity crisis.

For many years, I was an employee. For almost as many years, I was Phil’s wife and while I celebrated the loss of the employee moniker, the loss of wife status is throwing me for a loop. The majority of husbands and wives drive each other crazy. Phil and I were no exception, so it’s somewhat of a surprise that I miss him so much now that he’s gone. Caring for him was a job that I was proud of, and frustrated with. People, or maybe just me, are difficult to understand.

I’m just a little over a week away from the one year anniversary of my retirement. It’s exactly a week from Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I love Thanksgiving, because there are no presents (except when my birthday falls on Thanksgiving), so nobody is disappointed with the gifts they’ve received, and everybody gets to eat lots of good food. Eating lots of good food is usually accompanied by lots of laughter and good food and laughter are two of my favorite things (okay, more clues to my identity – worrier who likes to eat food and laugh). Another couple of my favorite things, are friends and family who are always a part of the Thanksgiving celebration (my identity is becoming clearer and clearer).

So, it looks like I’m a Mom, friend, sister, Aunt, retiree who loves Thanksgiving, likes to eat and laugh while not having to go to work weekdays. Bring on your questions, lady in the mirror. Life is good, if maybe a little lonelier than it used to be.

Friends and food: two of my favorite things!


Phillip Wayne Taylor passed away November 2, 2019 at the age of 72. So began Phil’s obituary. On October 29th, Phil decided that he had had enough of potentially successful treatment at the expense of his life (you know, the ol’ story – the doctor tells the patient’s family, “the treatment was a success, but I’m afraid the patient died”) and he chose to enter hospice. He had two days of comfort, and positive interaction with friends and family, before slipping into unconsciousness, and passing away on the morning of November 2nd. I, along with our children, and his best friend were with him.

He had been ill for more than half of our 42 years of marriage. Death had hunted him and he had eluded it, time and time again. He, and we, thought that he was invincible. Of course, he wasn’t, and neither are any of us.

Family and friends gathered to say goodbye. The love of my friends and family sustains me. The love we had for Phil (faults and all), sustains his memory. And so, life is good, but death isn’t all bad. When we’ve been suffering, it provides relief. When we’re tired, it provides rest. When we’re apart, it brings us together. It provides an opportunity to remember good times and the best of people who’ve passed. It casts a shadow that softens difficult memories, while encouraging forgiveness. It reminds us to tell the people we love, that we love them, while they can hear us. The gift of death, is the same as the gift of life: love.

“In my life, I’ve loved them all.”