Two days ago, a friend of mine in Miami passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. He was 41 years old. He leaves behind a family, and many friends and co-workers who will miss him greatly. Jeremy was one of a kind. He was a very easy-going, happy, friendly man who made people laugh and never took himself too seriously.
Jeremy’s sudden passing makes one once again think of how fragile life can be and how little control we have over it. Sure, he could have lost some weight – couldn’t we all? I don’t know if he was actively pursuing a workout program but I’m thinking he probably wasn’t. (And I could be completely wrong about it. I haven’t seen him for several years.) Yet 41 is far too young for most of us to worry about a heart attack, and far too young to worry about dying.
When someone we know dies suddenly and unexpectedly it reminds us of our own mortality. At least, it reminds me of my own. I haven’t always lived my life in the healthiest manner. Who knows what damage could have been done in that time? Recently I’ve begun eating more healthily, walking as often as possible (distances that actually make my heart work for a while) and losing weight. Two years ago my doctor put me on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. Last year, after I lost 18 pounds and changed my diet, I was taken off all medication and I feel much better. My cholesterol is still a bit high but I’m still trying to lower it naturally rather than take medication. However, I know if it doesn’t come down I’ll need the meds because cholesterol is dangerous.
About a month ago, another man I used to work with died suddenly of a heart attack. He was also in his forties. Things like this often happen around the holidays for some reason. It’s strange that way. I feel badly for the families of those people who now, every year around the holidays, will be reminded of the sudden deaths of their loved ones. I remember once, when I was in the Air Force years ago, we rolled out on a 911 call on Christmas Eve to a home where a father had suffered a heart attack. His wife and young children watched as we worked on him but ultimately he didn’t make it. All I could think of after that was that every Christmas Eve his kids will be reminded of his untimely death. How terribly sad for them and for all who lose someone on a holiday. It’s difficult enough to lose someone unexpectedly. It’s more difficult to lose someone at a time when everything and everyone is supposed to be happy.
Jeremy, you will be missed, by more people than you probably realize. You touched many lives with your warmth, your humor and your genuinely caring personality. My thoughts are with your family today.
I hope all who read this will take a look at their own health and activities and, if you haven’t done so already, make a decision to get into better shape, maybe lose some weight and take care of yourselves. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for those who love you and want you around. They will appreciate you for it. January, right after the holidays, is a great time to start since most of us put on some weight over the holidays. If you survived the holidays it’s a good time to work on surviving the new year. And the one after that. And the one after that. And so on…