There is something about seeing someone physically deteriorate before your eyes. that is somewhat life changing.
In the past I've seen people I know slowly deteriorate from AIDS, from drug abuse, Cancer, and I imagine other unknown ailments. But for whatever reason those didn’t have the same affect on me as what I have experienced in the past two years. The two people I have witnessed die before my eyes were both very very different experiences but both were people I loved.
The first was my mother, we found out she had Cancer and was given 6 months to live, as her illness progressed there were mild signs that turned into larger obstacles with day to day activities. Until her final night when I was holding her hand as she took her last breath.
The second, and most recent was my friend of many years, Dave. At first we thought it was just jaundice because he was turning yellow, which turned into orange, and then we found out his liver and kidney were both failing. He went in and out of different facilities, went home for a short time but his illness progressed quickly and beyond the scope of the doctors’ abilities to save his live.
Mom’s death affected me to a point where I thought I couldn’t live without her, and I attempted to end my life. Mom died of lung cancer. She was a smoker for many years but for the last 13 years of her life she did not smoke. The type of cancer she had was not directly attributed to smoking. She was 74 years old when she died.
Dave’s death has had the opposite impact on me; I've actually wanted to take better care of myself. . Dave’s illness was something that could have been avoided, something he was warned about by his doctors. Unfortunately Dave didn't take the advice of his doctors, but I heard them loud and clear. Dave died at the age of 46 years old.
Although the changes I’m making are slow, they are also deliberate. I eat healthier more often, including gross vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and eggplant, all of which I now find amazingly delicious. I go walking in the morning. I have been drinking alcohol a lot less often. Watching Dave slip away so quickly helped me FINALLY realize how easy it is to fall into bad patterns that can end your life. I had much worse addictions than Dave, but somehow I was lucky enough to make it through. I was also by Dave’s bedside when he passed, way too young, way too soon. That could have just as easily been me.
So last night Dave came to me in a dream, just the same as my mom, grandma, dad, and most everyone else that has passed before me. The dream didn't make any sense; he wasn’t bringing me any profound words of wisdom. But it struck a thought in my mind that I scribbled down, which has resulted in this blog post.
So what’s the point I’m trying to make here? I don’t even know. Just take care of those close to you, force them to take better care of themselves. Watching someone you care about taking their last breath is an image that will never escape your mind.