Folks, this weekend has been rough.. Really rough. My cousin, Jason, has been in and out of the hospital recently with pancreatitis, and it finally took his life on Sunday night around 7 p.m. The pancreas, inflamed and filled with cysts, began releasing enzymes into Jason’s body that broke down all of his internal organs. He lived only and hour and a half after they pulled the plug. Jason was 36, the oldest son of my most cheerful and happy-go-lucky uncle. He was just as much of a jokester as my uncle. The point I’m getting to is that Jason was too young, and my family is completely distraught. I arrived at the hospital with my dad, sister, and step mother only a few minutes after Jason passed, and I was able to visit the room as he laid there. I kept watching his chest, sure that he was just playing, waiting for it to rise and fall. It never did.
Jason leaves behind several siblings, a father, a mother, step parents… His father, my uncle, was the most upset. He didn’t cry, but he wanted to. He didn’t act sorry for himself, but he wanted to. You could see in his eyes the hopelessness that comes with the realization that yet another life is extinguished from the face of the planet. He was angry. Who could blame him? He said, “I’m a little mad at the man upstairs right now. It’s kinda one of them things that I want to know why or what the plan is.” Something to that extent. He said he’d like to hurt someone, not anyone he knows, but he’d walk into a bar and pick a fight with the baddest dude in there. My poor, sweet uncle. He does not deserve this. No person should ever have to bury a child whether he’s 6 or 36. This should not have happened.
This event has been heavy on my mind lately, and I’ve admitted before that I’m an emotional eater. I eat my stress and my sadness. Sugar is the comfort of choice. The day I found out they’d be taking Jason off of the ventilator, I was on a walk with my dogs on the river. I opened that text message, processed its information, and ran. I ran for Jason; I ran long and hard until my lungs burned and my breath caught. I turned my emotions into the energy I needed to fuel my body for my run. I focused, and I really saw. I looked with clarity at the river, the sun shining off of the tiny waves caused by the stark wind, and I saw. I saw life being short, I saw love as a state of being, and I saw that stupid, trivial things in life are just not what they seem.
I wanted to eat, but I ran. When I did eat, I burned it off. Yesterday, I went to a gas station and bought a maple frosted cinnamon roll. It was 520 calories of sugar and fat that definitely didn’t need to be in my body. I ate it, and I immediately felt remorse. I know better than that. I ended up going to the gym later to burn it off, and I did; I burned nearly 700 calories. During the past couple of days, anytime I hear a song that reminds me of Jason or if I think about it, which is way too often, I push harder. I put extra energy into everything that I do because I still have life, love, and my health; I treasure that.
Love your body, keep it healthy, live with purpose. Keep yourself healthy so that no one ever has to worry about burying you too early. Fitness and health isn’t just so you can look good or feel good… This is about your life. This is about keeping your heart in shape and your body in good enough condition to LIVE.
This is your LIFE. Please, treasure it.