Octo Observations: Cycles of Life and Saying Goodbye

Hard to believe! Next week is Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday … and suddenly we are ensconced in Christmas/Holiday decorations,  preparations, music, parties and celebrations. Impossible not to feel gratitude in abundance along with the sober reality of life’s changing cycles.

For those of us who have lived many decades, we pause to ponder the rapid passage of time. Rather than feeling swamped by “to-do lists” or the minutiae or commercial triviality of the season, we step back, assess  life with a sense of nostalgia. We realize that the number of holidays remaining for us to enjoy is dwindling. We cannot malinger. We cannot mourn what once was, nor can we wish we were twenty years younger or that our homes were more closely located to far away families. Change happens. Families scatter, but love remains strong and immutable.

For five years I have been lucky to write articles for Woman Around Town. This has been a delightful blessing for me. I am without a doubt the oldest contributor. I have loved that Charlene Giannetti asked me to participate in her award-winning Woman Around Town website after she published my second book. (Thankfully, Joy of Retirement: Live, Love, and Learn, is still available to buy on Amazon. )

After a few exchanged emails, a phone call and a snippet of my proposed book, Charlene accepted me as a client. Her support has meant the world to me….especially during this difficult cycle of my life when my beloved husband of 64 years has been moved to the Memory Care unit of our Retirement care facility here in Richmond. John has Alzheimer’s Disease.  

I have written about our journey so far, but there are many more chapters yet to evolve. My quality time with him is measured. I see him each and every day. Hence, he is my fervent priority. We can still play giggle games of Gin Rummy, although John’s reactions are much slower. He still looks at me with endless love in his eyes. He still kisses me when I rap our special knock on his door, but I can see the decline……and it hurts….more than tongues can tell.

Unless you have had a loved one similarly affected, you are not expected to understand or relate to where my heart is these days. I am determined to continue to live my life to the best of my ability. I am determined to try to contribute to the community in which I live…and to reach out to those whose lives are suddenly uprooted by unwanted change or illness. For it is in giving, that we receive! 

We boost ourselves by caring for others, by empathizing and by letting them know they are important. We forget the hurts or unkind words we hear in favor of the blessings we feel surrounding us each and every day. Love is understanding. Love is moving forward. Love is forgiveness. Love is listening.

And so, as I look at the clock, and our changing times, I know that my wonderful cycle of writing articles for Woman Around Town has come full circle. Now is the perfect opportunity for younger writers to project their views, their beliefs and their perspective on a myriad of topics. I have said what I need to say….I am moving forward toward publishing a new book: Finding Joy in Later Years…it will be a collection of the WAT articles, with appropriate edits and commentaries included. 

My only sister calls me the “GRANDMA MOSES OF WRITING,” and I love that moniker. I will continue to write, as it is my solo passion. I will continue to share my Octo Observations. I will continue to try to impact younger generations with my avid beliefs that manners, character and values matter….regardless of anyone’s age. I am an old-fashioned girl, with an eagerness to embrace the newer generations. I adore being a wife, a grandmother, a great grandmother as well as a mom, friend and person who tries to make others feel happy to know me.

Truth be told, my lasting mark on this world will be marginal. But no matter what the future holds, I will know that for five years during a personally difficult transition I wrote articles from the heart for you. I have been richly blessed by faithful readers whose multiple “shares” make me smile with appreciation. To touch another heart or mind in some small way is the greatest satisfaction any writer/person could achieve. 

Lastly, thank you, Charlene and Debra. Good luck to you both. I wish you continued success and the insights to perceive the variety of truths that resonate all around us.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” Karl Barth


Featured photo of Joy Nevin and her husband John in 2019. Courtesy of Joy Nevin.

About Joy Nevin (75 Articles)
Joy Nevin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, attended Connecticut College for Women for two years until she married John Nevin in 1957. Four children later, with twelve corporate moves in 20 years, the family learned flexibility. In 1990, with a nearly empty nest, Joy and John moved to Richmond, Virginia where they put down roots. Now in her eighties, Joy is the author of “Get Moving: A Joyful Search to Meet and Embrace Life Transitions” (2002) and “Joy of Retirement: Live, Love and Learn” (2015). Since 2016 she has written numerous articles for Woman Around Town on downsizing, moving to a retirement facility and her current series, Octo Observations. She is also a proud Grammy of nine, great grandmother of two…..AND forever grateful to Charlene Giannetti for supporting her passion for writing!