I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately and the trials she went through. Looking back I realize there are so many things I had wrong from my limited perspective. We were so different my mom and I, but most of it was because while my mom was good at many things, divulging deep feelings wasn’t one of them. She kept many things to herself, while voicing all the things she wanted done around the house or griping about her cats.
I had a couple of odd illnesses in July, tetanus and a long round of extremely strong antibiotics and then a broken tooth that led to more antibiotics and pain pills. I also did a number on my system taking too much pain medicine and drinking too much caffeine. This all led to extremely high blood pressure. It scared me.
I didn’t understand why my blood pressure wouldn’t come down, so that freaked me out even more. I had a reaction to the medication, plus blurred vision, chest pains, migraine headaches, mood swings and nightmares that left me screaming.
I Googled everything I could find on high blood pressure and heart health. I found a diet (American Heart Assoc.) and changed my diet to include high fiber, more raw fruit and veggies, added more vitamin B12 and C, vitamin E and D, Fish oil and CoQ-10 supplements to my daily intake. I am now on a caffeine free and low sodium diet mixed with more exercise and physical activity. Within a week I felt a lot better and had much more energy. I had no side effects from the caffeine withdrawal, which was a bit odd, and by the second week my blood pressure was back to normal.
My nightmare stayed with me, and gave me an entirely different perspective. I was so disoriented and scared, I woke myself up screaming. It took me awhile to figure out the vision and why it was invoking such mind boggling fear. I was dreaming of being zipped up in a body bag.
Thoughts of mortality have been with me ever since, like a sort of backwards wake up call. It brought on the thoughts of my mom. My mom who was a 3 time cancer survivor and had so many ailments as a result of all the chemo she had to endure.
As scared as I was thinking about what would happen to my children if something happens to me? What if I got really sick? My angst cannot possibly compare to those people who have truly suffered first hand. I’ve been praying a lot more lately. Though I have been a caretaker of my parents, and helped others, empathizing and sympathizing, just as you cannot truly understand loss of a loved one until you have experienced it first hand, you cannot truly understand the fear when your body starts going down a path you never wanted to go down of its own accord.
On an interesting note, I can tell you that I am not afraid to die. The afterlife is not the thing that was scaring me. What scared me was all of the unfinished things I still have left to do here. I never expected to feel that way at all. I know now where my mom found the unbelievable strength to keep on going. She didn’t have all the support she needed and I know that now without a doubt. I was 15 years old the first time she had cancer and about the only support I could offer was just being there most of the time.
One of the things that the experience has reinforced is how very precious time is and to use it wisely, but the other is to truly create a legacy that will be here for my children and others once I am gone. Part of that legacy is sharing the gifts that God has graced me with.
If you are still here then you still have a purpose, and you too have gifts to share with the world. Make the time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t just exist and make it through every day, make a difference, find your voice and make it known. Your life will be more full and joyful and we will all benefit from your experiences and perspective.
Cherry Coley ©