I have worked in the field of pediatric hospice and oncology for 17 plus years. I have seen a lot of joy, healing and survival. I have also seen a lot of pain, suffering and death. But today I am reflecting on the second. I read a blog post from a mother, Sarah, recounting her last day with her 7 year old son, Conner, who died this past week from Cystic Fibrosis. I found this blog through my friend Stacey who recently started blogging her experience as a 34 year old with CF.
Experiencing the death of a child is not new to me. Her story was familiar to others I have heard or been present for. But my reaction to it was new. I could not even read it at first. I saw the post and navigated away from the page because I knew it would be too much for me. Today I decided to read it in it’s entirety. I knew I would be sad, but I think I experienced it in a different way because of several reasons. First, my son is also 7 and I found myself thinking of him as I read Sarah’s words. Second, I have been through some trauma in my life and I find that sad things bring me much quicker to tears than they did before. Third, the part I did not expect, was that it made me think of my struggle with my weight and health. Odd, huh? Here’s why: I have been seriously thinking about my weight and it’s effect on my health. I have been increasingly concerned as I see my weight increasing and my belief that I am string enough to do anything about it decreasing. I have been thinking about what I will think if/when someday my weight causes life-threatening health complications. Will I look back on this time and say to myself, “You KNEW there was a problem and you did NOTHING about it?” Will I realize that this was a pivotal point in my life story and I did nothing? Will I regret that I did not make significant changes that would have dramatically changed my weight and health?
I think I would.
Regrets suck. Especially when you had the power to do something differently. A lot of the decisions I have made over the past five years have NOT resulted in regret. I have been proud of how I handled the implosion of my marriage, my decision to divorce and related issues. I have not had regrets because I made good choices.
I talk to my son regularly about choices. I praise him when he makes good choices. I help him understand when he makes undesirable choices and help him learn from them so that he will be more equipped to make better choices in the future.
But here I am (the adult, the mother, the role model) making bad choice after bad choice about food and weight and exercise and health.
So, back to Conner and Sarah. As I read the story of her last hours with her son, I thought about life and death. I am my son’s only parent. I hope that he lives a long and healthy life – which will mean that he will have to grieve my death. That is a part of life. But I do not want it to be a premature death because I made bad choices.
So insert your favorite cliché here: This is where I put my money where my mouth is. No more excuses. (Cringing because I know I have said this before…)
I have a lot of reasons why I eat and why I am overweight. I have a lot of excuses. I will probably blog about those at a future date. But I only need one reason to get healthier: To live a long, healthy life…for me, and for my son.
The doubts are already surfacing….but I need to remember how I feel right now.