Living with someone ten years older than I am has caused me to spend more time than I like contemplating mortality in recent years, as have my own increasing health issues. But even contemplating mortality feels distant and abstract in the face of the sudden death of a contemporary.
One of our co-grandmas, our daugher-in-law's mother, failed to wake up the other morning. She was a lively woman, with a big personality and a lot of energy, and about my own age. It was deeply shocking to hear the news, and very sad. But it also intensified the feeling I've had lately that I am living on borrowed time.
I am an extremely patient person. I can read a book to my grandkids five times in a row without more than a token protest, and I listened to my grandpa's stories over and over and over again his whole life. Since I began this journey towards fitness, I embraced Green Mountain's teaching that if you do the things you need to take care of yourself -- eat mindfully, move your body joyfully and safely, replace inner judgment with compassion -- weight loss will come as a welcome side effect. And most of the time, I am content to keep working at those goals, trusting that weight loss will, indeed, come along in time.
But then the sound of the mortality clock ticking becomes louder and louder, and I start to feel afraid that my body is going to weigh down my spirit before I ever get the chance to experience all the benefits of true fitness and health. It's ticking pretty loudly today.
One of the wisest things anyone ever said to me, spoken by one of the behavioral specialists at Green Mountain, was that anxiety is the future (or the past) intruding into the present. Her point was that if you can truly stay in the moment, you can reduce a lot of stress in your life. In this particular moment, I can truly feel the value of that advice, as it also eliminates that looming sense of fear that I'll run out of time. If this moment is all that really concerns me, then all I can do is make the best choice I can, and continue to make the best choices I can in each subsequent moment. Some of those choices will inevitably be less than optimal, and I will have to live with those as I live with the better ones. Certainly, I am much better off and much healthier (though no lighter) today than I was a few years ago. And that is the best that I can do.
I feel especially sad when I think of my grandson, Jake, who will now have such a huge hole in his life without Grandma Andrea. I need to do what I can to try to make sure that he has his Grandma Sherry for a few more years.
A hui hou.