A 20 Year Old Christmas Letter
This past autumn I got a call from a client who informed me that her husband Bill had passed and wanted to review the next steps. I began my relationship with the couple almost 20 years ago when John decided to retire. When a spouse passes there are things to do financially, but the reason I am sharing this story is not to review these steps.
During my conversation with John’s widow, I was given a 1998 Christmas message that he sent to his mature children. I asked permission to share a portion of that letter with you. Bill’s reflection of his career, family and his expectations toward retirement was clear. He was certain that the serendipity of life was anchored by the love of family and friends.
The kids were used to getting his Christmas letters but when this letter arrived in the mail in October of 1998 they knew something else was up.
Dear family (Bill wrote).
The approaching Christmas season once again means that you have to put up with another one of my letters. Let me start by saying that I am retiring. I realized that it is an overused cliché but truly I do not know “where the time has gone”. I can’t possibly be working for 34 years. It seems like only a couple of years ago that mom and I drove into town to start our home and we brought your brother home from the hospital.
Time does fly by. We must enjoy and cherish every single minute we spend together – husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
My impending retirement has certainly caused me to review things. If someone would have told me playing stickball on Willow Ave that I would be what I have become, with eight grandchildren, I would have told them they were nuts. I have truly had a “wonderful life”. I have never been able to figure out why the good lord has been so good to me. Seriously, I wonder about that frequently. I guess all those prayers that Mom says worked for me.
Once again, we have had a great year. We are all healthy and prosperous. The good Lord continues to shine on us. Let’s us show him how much we appreciate his beneficence by loving each other and having a wonderful Christmas together. Love Dad
We often find ourselves telling retired clients to stop worrying and enjoy the day. What we worry about rarely happens and it dims the greatest years we have. This holiday season I’m remembering Bill who understood the importance of family, friends and the fleeting time we have to share.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all.
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