So, at the end of this month it will be seven years since the most important person in my world passed away.
7 years has given me a lot of time to reflect on her life, my life and the choices that I make.
My mom, Chris, was an amazing woman. She was my Girl Scout Troop Leader, my number one fan at Softball games (yes, I wore the vizor with my bangs hanging over), a manager for AMPM for 20 years, an esthetician, a church volunteer for just about every and any event, the Director of Compassion Ministries at our church and voted number one volunteer for Sacramento for her work with the homeless. She started an outreach to inner -city youth called Sports Camp which ran for almost 10 years. She worked 60 hours a week and still took the time to be my best friend.
She didn’t take very good care of herself though. In the name of serving others, she became last on that list. She lived on junk food at the store and whatever she could quickly throw together at home at the end of a long day. She would have lunch meetings at restaurants and never really exercised. It took me almost a year of counseling to be able to see some of the flaws my mother had, and to admit that she did not model health and wellness for me.
She was always stressed, though she tried to hide it with humor. The combination of stress, anxiety, junk food and no exercise for 40 years led to her being diagnosed with Uterine/Ovarian cancer in 2003, my senior year of high school.
She did the surgery and a years worth of chemo and radiation. She never stopped giving and helping others.
Another surgery revealed that it had spread to just about everywhere in her tired body. The prognosis was a grim 18 moths, but three months later at age 44, she was gone.
I tell you this not to gain sympathy or guilt trip anyone, but to help you see how stress, poor eating choices and no exercise can literally kill you…one slow, painful day at a time. I sometimes struggle watching parents who are on this same path as my mom because I know what it did to my family, watching her go.
For me, it turned my life around. I saw how the cumulative effects of her lifestyle choices affected her life. She was constantly overweight and hated being so. I saw her try lots of diets, but to no avail. I can’t imagine how stressed she was working that much, having a daughter like me :0) and a bi-polar husband. Without managing that stress, it ate her alive. The lack of exercise made her tired and weakened her immune system. The kicker- the doctor said if she hadn’t been so stressed, she would have made it.
So, I URGE BEG and PLEAD with you to really examine your life. How are you managing stress? Do you journal, to you see a therapist, do you have a support group?? What kind of food choices are you making? What’s quick and easy, or what will fuel your body for a lifetime?? Do you move? Do you make an investment in yourself to purposefully move and strengthen your body??
Learn from my mom- don’t put yourself last in line.
Love to you all!Be there for the important things.