Today would have been my Dad's 74th birthday. He only made it to 70. My dad was a reclusive alcoholic, but I always knew he loved me and loved my siblings, even if he didn't tell us and even if we didn't see him as often as we would have liked.
My husband and I often say that we wonder how long dad would have lived had he taken care of himself. You see, besides the alcohol, he smoked and his diet was lousy. To dad, a meal consisted of a huge steak. Perhaps a potato if he had one... but that's about it.
He never went to the doctor. Ever. He outright refused. I think he knew the damage he was doing to his body and didn't want to face it. So, he didn't. I still swear that he died at the moment he did because he heard the ambulance sirens in the distance and was determined not to go to the hospital. LOL.
I was blessed to be by his side, holding his hand, when he passed.
His life is a cautionary tale for mine. I don't drink. I don't smoke, but I've spent years eating terribly and not exercising and HATING to go to the doctor to be told, once again, that I had to get fit before it's too late. I still went to the doctor, but I dreaded it. Terribly.
Now, with the help of Spark People and community I've found there, I've lost some weight (lots more to go) and I've gotten active. This fall, I won't be so down about my yearly check up. I'll have some weight loss to show for my efforts, and hopefully better cholesterol numbers as well.
I don't want to keep abusing my body. I don't want to die, like Dad did, with people wondering, "How long would she have lived if she'd only taken care of herself."
Rest in Peace, Dad. I miss you.