Friday, July 15, 2011

Adding Years to Our Lives and Life to our Years

I've been feeling at the mercy of outside forces recently.  My natural tendency is to let circumstances feed mental chaos, which leads me to a state of  "brain fog".  That's where I've been for a few weeks, with enough mental energy to check in and comment on Facebook, but not enough to sit down and post to my blog.  Many, many thanks to those of you who have visited here recently and apologies that you have found me "not at home".  I'm so grateful for those of you who are still around and I'm ready to join the blogging community again.  My brother recently asked me how many read my blog and my response was "not many", at least as compared to the thousands who visit some other blogs.  That's only part of the equation, though.  I know (as you do) that the other important thing is visiting others' blogs, making new friends, and gaining new insight.  That's why blogging will continue to be part of my life and why I'm happy to be back!

One thing that happened recently is two deaths in our extended family.  Both were beloved women who will be greatly missed. 

Terry was 62 -- much too young to die.  She was my former sister-in-law and we had lost contact during the years after her divorce.  I attended her funeral and was impressed by what her family members and friends said about her -- that she enjoyed her granddaughter's overnight visits, particularly racing through her home -- in her wheelchair.  That she was very important to a young woman who saw her as a mother figure.  That her nephew loved and appreciated her taking him in and loving him when he had nowhere else to go.

She had been in ill health for years.  I don't know all of the circumstances and I want to be clear that there is no judgement in my writing about her health.  She was overweight and so am I.  There are often consequences for being overweight and most likely, Terry's early death was one of them.  We know that statistically is often the case.

The other death in my family was my Aunt Lona Mae (Aunt Sister), who died recently at age 100.   I have posted about my aunt earlier; her life was one of good health, hard work, and involvement in her church, her family, her friends, and a concern for others.  She enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.

During her funeral, many stories were told about Lona Mae.  Many were quite funny.  An example:  When she and my Uncle Jess were expecting their first child, they moved to a small home on a plot of land on her parent's farm.  One day, Jess went into town and ran into a local nurse, who told him that she was going to visit Lona Mae the next day, just to see how she was doing.  Jess went home and told Lona Mae that the nurse was coming and that she would check Lona Mae's blood pressure.  Lona Mae asked what checking her blood pressure meant; Jess responded, "I'm not sure, but you'd better take a bath."

A more recent story had the minister telling widowed Lona Mae that he thought it was time that she met a new man.  She told him that it would be difficult, because she liked older men and there weren't any around older than she was.

The same minister asked Lona Mae what her rules were for long life.  Her responses:
  • Have a routine.  Eat regular meals, get up and go to the bed at the same time.
  • Have a passion.  Lona Mae's was the Dorcas class at her church and the work they did for the community.
  • Stay away from doctors.
Her third rule was interesting.  Lona Mae was seldom ill and was healthy until a few months before she died at 100.  I think that she was able to stay away from doctors, for the most part, because she lived a life that contributed to good health.  She didn't let things upset her, she worked and played hard, and she ate good food (most of which she prepared herself, out of her garden's bounty.)  She had no bad health habits.  She had a circle of family, friends and neightbors who checked on her and participated in her life.  (She enjoyed playing cards regularly until the last weeks of her life.)

That's not to say that any of the rest of us would never need a doctor, even if we did live a healthy life.  But if I may expand on her words, "Stay away from doctors as much as possible (by being responsible for our own health) and seek medical help when you need it."  That would include all of the normal checkups that can keep us on track, and any of the medical procedures we might need because of circumstances beyond our control.  If we all followed these expanded rules, maybe it would also help with the crisis in health care our country faces.  At the very least, it might add years to our lives and life to our years!

Hoping for a long and healthy life for you and those whom you love,


Carol said...

So good to see you back blogging. Hope you're staying cool in the extreme heat.


Nan said...

Such a thoughtful, kind posting. Tom and I were just talking this morning about how you just never know. It came up because I read a blog entry about a man who was in his mid-forties, training for a marathon and he had a massive heart attack and died.

And btw, you certainly don't look overweight in your picture!

Olive Cooper said...

Welcome back to to the blogs. Summer and the heat is slowing me down. You are right that 62 is very young. Your aunt was very wise. Big hugs. ♥O

Cape Cod Kitty said...

It is so nice to see you back, Annie. So sorry to read about the loss of two very special people in your life. Isn't it wonderful that the memorials can be so meaningful with shared memories? They do seem to stay with one for so long. It seems that often we only learn some wonderful tidbits about a loved one's life at the funeral.

Something else you brought up really hit home with me. I get in to that brain fog place, too. I've recently come out of a phase of it (well, almost out of it!). I cannot decide if it is a self-saving place I go in to or whether it is an actual physical event due to the overload of stress. Then I cannot decide if it's the stress that gets me or my reactions. Most likely the latter. Somehow, I can never seem to remember to act and not react. Oh well, wishing you peace and some lovely summer days!

peggy said...

I have missed you Annie Joy. I'm sorry for your losses, your tribute to them in your post was very nice. You make them sound like people we would have liked to have known too. Best wishes to you.

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I agree with "staying away from doctors" as much as possible..
We do need to take responcibility for out own health as much as we can.
so sorry for the loss of these 2 ladies.. I know they will be missed.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recently Read Fiction Favorites

  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
  • Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
  • Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
  • Confessions of a Former Rock Queen by Kirk Bjornsgaard
  • Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
  • Faithful Place by Tana French
  • Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
  • Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow
  • Innocent by Scott Turow
  • My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
  • Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • Private Life by Jane Smiley
  • Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
  • Roses by Leila Meacham
  • Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
  • So Much For That by Lionel Shriver
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  • That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
  • The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
  • The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  • The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  • The Sky Took Him by Donis Casey
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
  • The Wind Comes Sweeping by Marcia Preston
  • Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom
  • Wolf Hall by Hillary Mandel
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

Favorite Nonfiction and Memoir

  • All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  • Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason by Nancy Pearl
  • Getting Over Getting Older by Lettie Cottin Pogrebin
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Sharing the Journey: Women Reflecting on Life's Passages by Katherine Ball Ross
  • Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  • The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin
  • The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dustbowl by Timothy Egan