Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade three

I find it interesting that reaching a certain age holds more significance than other ages. For me, turning 20 was important. I was no longer a teenager and somehow felt more grown-up.

Things quickly fell into place when I moved to Bend, Oregon. I found a great job working for someone who would end up being a life-long friend, I had a nice apartment and best of all I had a fun convertible sports car.

I was a bonafide adult, or at least I thought so.

Me at 20 in my Spitfire

Turning 21 was a milestone birthday I was looking forward to celebrating, but I had no idea that year would be filled with a mix of sorrow and joy. My brother, Johnny unexpectedly died five days after my 21st birthday; and that devastating loss was almost more than I could bear.

Just a few months after his death, I walked down the aisle with the man I would be married to for 18 years. Looking back now, I would say I must have been an emotional mess inside. I went from my deepest sorrow to joy and celebration in just three months.

The next few years were a roller coaster ride of emotions.

We moved from Oregon to Arizona so my husband could go to graduate school. While he was busy studying in the evenings and on the weekends, I was alone. I grew up surrounded by people and those three years in Arizona were the loneliest in my life.

Then as the roller coaster headed back up, the greatest gift came when I was 24.

My first son was born the end of the year in 1983, and I immersed myself into motherhood. I knew from the time I was young I wanted to be a mother, but nothing truly prepared me for the overwhelming joy I felt when I held my child in my arms.

My first son

By the time my second gift was born, we were back in Oregon building a family life together. I count my blessing to this day that I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom with my two sons.

Me and my boys being pilgrims on Thanksgiving 1987

I cooked and cleaned and raised our boys like a true 1960’s housewife and loved every minute of it.

Each day the three of us would do just about everything together. I would take them everywhere with me and answer the constant streams of questions they never seem to run out of.

There were many hours spent on the floor putting together legos or sending Hotwheels flying down the loop-de-loop racetracks we built.

They helped me in the kitchen and out in the garden and on weekends our little family would go on hikes or sled down hills or ride bikes.

My husband and I taught them how to ski from the time they could walk, and despite the fact that their father and I were not connecting with each other we made sure to connect as a family.

Even though I was happy and loved my life, there was a sadness inside me that never fully went away.

When I was 29, eight years after my brother’s death, I walked into the cemetery where his ashes were and took them home with me. I had no idea why I needed to bring his ashes home with me, I just knew I did.

What I learned: It’s okay to be sad.

Me at 30

Reader Comments

  1. Anita

    I just spoke to a college friend of mine. We don’t speak often, but there’s something drawing me back to the past. What takes you back? Is it mainly for your book? I feel like I have some unresolved issues.
    I love your old photos. These are so loving!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I most definitely had unresolved issues. I started writing the blog to work through them. Wanted to reach 60 and have my sh*t together! lol

      Thank you so much!! XX

  2. Rosie Bermudez

    Dear Loretta:

    Reading to your blog, brings many memories for me and some are unresolved. Interesting, I attempted to join you during your 10yo challenge but honestly it was so difficult and brought tears on my eyes. The goods news, I contacted my 5th grader teacher as she attended my college graduation. I appreciate you sharing your stories, experiences and your brother’s death. I lost my uncle at the age of 24yo while I was in graduate school, it was extremely hard caring for him and trying to survive graduate school. A year later, I married my son’s father thinking it was the best decision for me as I mistakenly thought this would bring stability in my life. Much love to you.



    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Oh Rosie, I am so sorry. I so know what memories these old photos can bring up…some good, some bad. Thank you so much for reading, but more importantly, sharing your story too. Much love, my friend.

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