Is there anyone who would argue with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s timeless observation that health is wealth? As I survey the various seasons and terrains of my life, I can attest to these three words, without a doubt. Yet, the last decade, perhaps two, have been the most revealing, concerning them.
It’s been necessary to make decisions for my personal health as well as those I love; from day to day wellness choices, to wrestling with and navigating chronic diseases and their unending repercussions.
Who among you is already nodding your head? I would fathom a guess of at least 10 percent, particularly if you’ve already crossed the fifth and sixth decades of life. There’s also the sandwich generation, those still raising and nurturing children and, at the same time, intricately involved and/or responsible for caring for aging parents, or other relatives, is growing by leaps and bounds.
While I’ve been there, I recently found myself thrust into another, even more precarious, situation; the death of a younger sibling. BAM! Just like that, his fight was over. It was a fight that he did not share until the end, because he didn’t want us to worry. So, he chose to grab every hope possible, despite the prognosis and fight (alone) with all his might, until he could no longer disguise his body’s transition.
Four months hence, I’ve still not grieved nor comprehended the loss. There’s not been time to do so as I am his estate’s executor and the decision maker for constructing the next level of care for our Mother, who is battling Alzheimer’s Disease. Truly, the entire family is battling it, in one way or the other. It, the Big C, that cheated me and my three siblings of our brother, and a host of other crippling diseases, not only dices, smashes, and spreads, but cuts, robs, and violates everyone, in varying degrees.
I share this saga, not for empathy. I share it to encourage all who are or will find themselves in a similar situation, be it accompanying loved ones to doctor appointments, engaging hospice care, planning funerals, seeking respite and/or long-term care; or, all of this at the same time, to continue to press forward. You cannot afford to lose your footing. Your loved ones cannot afford for you to lose it.
You may feel abused; press forward. You may feel misused; press forward. You may feel tired, even totally spent; press forward. You may also feel scared. Still, continue to press forward. Do whatever you need to do to do what must be done; even when you are misunderstood and misjudged. In the end, you will know what must be done. Find a way to keep moving, to achieve it. And remember to do all of this without neglecting yourself.