The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made… And The Traits That Served Me Best

February 18, 2018 Published by
Share on:

Life Lessons AFter 50

Most days I am charged up to write. I feel the buzz. Yet, like everything else in life, there are days when I have difficulties. It’s is okay because I know I will figure it out. I am positive. I compare myself to the little engine who could. I always tell myself when I am struggling, “I know I can. I know I can.” A positive attitude and spirited resolve dictate my actions. These qualities were not given to me. They were developed.

THE FIRST 18 YEARS OF  MY LIFE: ‘THE TOWN, MY MOTHER, MY FATHER, MY GRANDFATHER’

I often write about Kankakee by the Sea, the town where I grew up. I spent the first 18 years of my life in this little town. I gave the town a romantic name because the personality of the town required me to develop skills and attitudes that would carry me successfully through the challenges I would face later in my life. I acquired out of necessity a powerful resolve and positivity that made me capable of landing on my feet.

During those formative years, I lived with a very curious mother and a father who took the high road and lastly a grandfather who told me to see the world. When I left for college and said my good-byes to Kankakee by the Sea and my family, I was prepared for my next journey with resolve, wanderlust, and curiosity. I had learned the importance of taking the high road and practicing positivity.

COLLEGE

In college, I learned how to think. I did not love college. I pledged to the sorority of my choice and was happy until I went to a ‘hash’ session where the older sorority girls hashed over the new girls who wanted to join the sorority. I remember as though it was yesterday sitting on the floor, an eighteen- year old, knitting and listening to each new girl, who wanted to join, being hashed over by my older sorority sisters.

A new friend of mine went through rush and was turned down by my sisters. I put down my knitting and told my older sorority sisters that I knew this girl and I thought she would be a great asset to our house. There was utter silence. Total stares were directed toward me. Afterwards, I called my mom. She told me I was right. “Now you are learning how to think and value your thoughts.” I will never forget those words. They have boded me well over the years.

MARRIAGE, CHILDREN AND ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES OF MY LIFE

I met my late husband on a blind date over a Christmas vacation in Miami Beach, Florida. I was eighteen years old. We had two children. We lived for a short time after we were married in Madison, Wisconsin while I continued college. My first child was born there. The biggest decision of our young married life came shortly after.  We decided to move. But where? My husband had two opportunities. He could work in my father’s company or work for a private insurance company in Chicago.

My mother, selfishly wanted us to return to Kankakee by the Sea. She wanted me back.  I did not want to return under any condition. My husband’s father and my mother fought against the Chicago move. We moved back to Kankakee by the Sea and I regretted that decision every day of my life until we moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. My mistake was costly but positive. I promised myself that from now on I would be the ‘mistress’ of my own fate. I was to learn later another lesson… committed love can overrule what you know is best for you.

A MOVE TO THE HAWAIIN ISLANDS AND THE DEATH OF A SPOUSE

My late thirties and forties had the happiest high hills and the saddest low valley. My hills were the best of my life thus far and the valley was the worst of the worst. Hills and valleys breed a new found maturity. During the next ten years, I became a mature woman.  Moving across the United States and living on an Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean took resolve and a curious nature. I was excited and ready for this next phase of life.

Nine years later the impossible happened.  My husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack. I was in my forties. I was in shock. I had never lost a loved one. I survived because I made a wise decision. I would spend a year alone with my children and mourn my loss and listen to my feelings and not suppress my grief. At the end of one year, not totally healed, I left the Island I loved, the taste of the salt in the air from the Sea I respected and adored, the beauty of orchid plants and dear friends and an Island lifestyle. I will miss for the rest of my life. I was different. My loss taught me the importance of spending time alone and appreciating the silence of the day and night.

CHICAGO, A NEW HUSBAND, A WHIRLWIND LIFE AND GRATITUDE

I married my ultimate concierge not long after I moved back to my beautiful Chicago. My cup ‘runneth over.’ I can only describe the next ten years as perfect. Love and excitement filled the air. There was never a dull moment. The world was my oyster.

And then, the eleventh year, the bombs started falling all around me. The suicide of my husband’s son, a terrible automobile accident, Cancer and on and on. Our trials would not stop. But, neither would our love, our positivity and our resolve.  Love and gratitude; the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation conquers all. My cup is full. I am ready for the next chapter in my life; a chapter you will learn about soon. I hope you are curious. 🙂

Share on:

Related Posts


31 Comments

  • Susan says:

    Dear Honey,
    Thank you for sharing your life in all of its full richness. I imagine many of us share similar lives to some extent. We have three lovely adult daughters. All educated and living good lives. There are only two grandchildren and no more are expected. I’m extremely grateful for them. You mentioned your mother selfishly wanting you to stay with her at one point. I have to admit, I don’t want my children to move away either. The guilt of feeling this way is awful. They must live their lives to the fullest and have every opportunity for happiness. Yet losing them is still painful. Did you ever feel this way or were you able to easily let them fly?

    Susan

    • Robin says:

      Susan,
      Thank you for being so open. I am two months post the love of my life. My husband died of cancer…a quick death, only 12 days from diagnosis until death. I too am trying to rest and figure out the new me for at least a year. I am working, but finding out who I am in this world of being alone. The only thing I know is that I will never be the same. I appreciate your blogs!

      • Susan "Honey" Good says:

        Please accept my sympathy. You will be different because you are experiencing heartbreak and loneliness. As you begin to recover you will be on a higher plane; more understanding, more introspective and more in touch with your feelings. Trust me, I know. Warmly, Honey

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I gave my children their roots and their wings. I did not want them to leave but I understood that is the progression of life. So, I accepted what life gave me and made sweet lemonade out of my lemons. I had no other choice.Don’t feel guilty that you do not want them to leave. it is called, love. Warmly, Honey

  • Irene bourm says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Virginia says:

    Beautifully said.

  • Judi Kauffman says:

    You must have gotten more than 3 replies to this meaningful piece. It is lonely when your children have all moved away and you see your friends surrounded by theirs.I too am grateful for all my blessings and speak with my children often…….however I feel that my dedication to my parents will never be replicated.

  • Cheri says:

    Every day I look forward to reading your blog. We are in the same age range and the things you face and have gone through match my experiences. I especially liked what you said today about giving your self one year to grieve.

  • Patty Watson says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    I truly believe our trials and mistakes will help us grow and make us a better person. It is hard to believe that when things are falling apart all around us, but when we reflect back we can see the growth and maturity in our life.

  • Vicky says:

    Lovely and inspiring lifestory! Thanks for sharing.

  • Judi Zeleny says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Judi Zeleny says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Babette says:

    Thank you so much for sharing so much with us. Life is so interesting. I’m looking forward to reading your next articles. You are such an inspiration to so many. I’m guessing I have so much to learn from you.

  • Carol says:

    Loved reading this and thank you for your wise insight into life. I look forward to all of your writing and the way you tell a story. Thank you Honey!

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your post hit me right in the heart today. My husband has just been diagnosed with gastric cancer and as an oncology nurse I know we have quite a journey ahead. I have never been able to embrace changes happily but I love how you handled things.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I am so sorry, Victoria. You will be his counsel and his strength. You will learn to pivot and accept change and fight to help your husband get well.I just know you will. Warmly, Honey

  • Mirna O'Brien says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. You are so authentic. This year, I am waiting to see photos of you and your husband in California. Take care.

  • Collette says:

    Thank you for writing about your journey in life. Many of us need to be reminded to be positive in attitude and appreciative of what we do have in our lives. I love your hometown name.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Life is a journey and I believe in walking on the sunny side of the street. I am glad you like the name I gave my hometown, Kankakee. Warmly, Honey

  • Linda says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your openness. I always look forward to reading your blog.
    Linda

  • Julie says:

    I am so impressed with you and your blog. Thank you for being an authentic inspirational voice.

  • AKaisha says:

    So inspirational, Honey.
    Blessings and the best for you in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cindy says:

    Your blog always inspires me. Your story is our story. Thank you Honey for being authentic and honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *