Weighty Matters

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Remembering and Looking Forward

on May 27, 2012

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I’m remembering a lot of people.  I’m holding thoughts and prayers for our military men and women who have served this country and guarded our freedom throughout history.   All of them, then and now, are heroes.

I think of family members who are no longer with us.  My grandparents, uncles, my cousin.  Most of all, I think of my parents.  I’m a little sad when I remember all of the years of me starting out chubby and growing progressively heavier as years went on.  Oh, their years of worrying and concern for me, my health, my happiness.  They tried everything they could think of to help me.  I think I might still have technically been an adolescent when Mom first took me to a Weight Watchers meeting.  When I was 11, they enrolled me in a summer camp that specialized in weight loss for girls.  The year that I lost 100 pounds on a medically supervised program where I ate only nine ounces of protein a day, they supported the effort by making sure that dinner was always something that I liked.  I was living away from home at that point, on my own, but they gave me the money so I could afford the program.  Dad, a doctor, also always wanted to know the results of my lab work and doctor check-ups to make sure that I was healthy.

There were a lot fewer choices for heavy kids and teens back then.   This caused challenges for dressy clothes for upscale events that we were invited to and, memorably, when I needed an authentic costume for my role in a high school play.  Mom went out of her way to take me shopping, even if we had to go to Philly or New York to find what I needed.

Through it all, they loved me.  Even if they were upset, worried, frustrated and angry, they always, always loved me more.

I was close to my thinnest in years when Dad died in 1983.  Six months prior to his death, my brother and sister-in-law got married.  I think I mentioned here before looking at pictures from their wedding.  I really looked good!  I’d also been achieving some weight loss success when Mom was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and we started those long months of illness leading to her death.   I guess I can take some comfort at least that during those times their worry for me was reduced because I was doing better.

I’m feeling some regret today for all of those years, not merely because of the pain it caused them, but also for myself.  Then I remember that regret is a wasted emotion.  I can’t take back those times and, for whatever reason, every action and reaction led me here today.  I can only be happy that I’m doing something now and know, in my very heart of hearts, that they would be truly happy for me too.   I’m also very grateful to them, even years after their deaths.   Thanks to them, my investment portfolio had a good start and that’s how I was able to pay for the surgery myself since my health insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure.   In that respect, they’re still helping me take care of myself.

Looking forward, I’m going out on my boat again today.  I think of them every time that I do.  My love of the water, boating and fishing started when I was a baby.  We had so many great times.  Those memories are near and dear to my heart.

So, enough about me and the past.  I always think that Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to look not only to memories, but also to where we are today and where we’re going.  As we honor the fallen soldiers, we need to commit, every day, to providing for the needs today of our active military and veterans.  So many are coming back from the war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and horrible physical injuries.  The families of active duty personnel need our support too.  We also need to look ahead and see what each of us can do better — for our soldiers, for our families and for ourselves.

I donate to an organization that provides programs for wounded warriors.  I want to seek out some that support families at home.

For me, I’m going to take each day as it comes and continue taking the steps to improve my health.   It makes me happy and, up in Heaven, I know my folks are happy, too!

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