Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Fourteen years ago today, my mother died. She had been suffering for quite some time, but in her chosen way of life, she did not disclose this. Some people were very shocked when she passed. She was only 66, pretty young these days.
I had about three weeks notice. Dad had been dropping hints about Mom "slowing down", of course. But I lived half a continent away. I planned a trip to visit them, had the tickets booked, and then a week before that scheduled trip, we had a death on my husband's side of the family. My brother in law, only 54, had a heart attack, mowing the lawn. That's a cliche, but cliches are such for a reason.
When I called my dad from my mother in law's home, I told him I didn't know what would happen with the trip. My dad, the most positive person in the world, said to me, "Well, I wouldn't put it off too long." Then I knew. She was dying. And she knew it and he knew it, but their faith would not allow them to say it.
So, I buried my brother in law on Thursday, and got on a plane on Friday to spend the last weekend I would with my mother. It was a good weekend. Her mind was sharp to the end. We played brain teasers, we read the Bible, we talked philosophy. I had finally reached the point in my own maturity where I could accept my mother as human and that it was OK for her to be so. And she was not afraid of dying.
Two weeks after that, she was gone, and I was on a plane again, this time for her funeral. She would have loved her memorial service! It truly was a celebration of who she was and what she believed. Even more than that, Mom would have loved what happened a year and a day later: my youngest niece was born. The final sibling, the last holdout in the bunch of five children produced a grandchild mom would never meet! But a year and a day? What great timing!
Here's to mom... I'm remembering your enthusiasm for life... and your courage when you had to leave us behind. Love you!
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
One thing I don't seem to get is all the people who say "I have so much more energy" when they have lost weight. This does not appear to be true for me. Yesterday I was completely wiped out. I did next to nothing: my laundry. Oh, yeah, and messed around on the computer. I didn't even get my 10,000 steps in, topping out under 8,000.
I spent a few brain cells pondering why this was so. Was it just because I messed with my sleep cycle? Was it "over-peopling" as I had social things on both Saturday and Sunday? Was it the family walk/jog Sunday evening that was a little more intense for having tried to match strides with my nephew for a while?
So, I made it a rest day, went to bed promptly last night, and this morning... probably OK. But I'm still pondering: is fatigue becoming a problem? I will monitor for a while, and I'm going to have to make that appointment for my annual physical... if the monitoring shows fatigue to be more than just a "this weekend wiped me out" kind of thing, it's worth mentioning. After all, with weight loss, regular medications might need adjusting.
I'm still figuring out "what's normal?"
Monday, July 05, 2010
I could blog for a week about all the layers of actions and reactions and emotions that show up at family gatherings. Because when you only get together for holidays, it all gets compressed: relationships, identity, re-discovering who each other are, and determining whether you're all OK with how each of you has changed in the interim. I suppose July 4th (US Independence Day) is one of the gentler holidays in this regard: it's so close to Memorial Day (where you already did this assessment, so there won't be dramatic changes), and it usually has an outdoors element which gives you a chance to have some physical space if you need it!
As I prepared for the family gather yesterday, I pondered over how these gatherings have changed since our childhood. I'm number two of a sibling group of five. Both of our parents have passed away. Our lone brother is halfway across the continent, but the four sisters all live in the same town. We each have independent lives, for the most part, but the family gathers at holidays are tradition, as they are for so many.
Now, in our fifties (and forties for the younger two of the group)... we are the top layer. We are the example that the kids see. And some things have definitely changed: we talk openly about health issues and behavior that supports health! As kids this would NEVER have been so! We talked about motivation for healthy habits, as well as our individual mechanics... we were spreading the spark to one another, even though I'm the only one who hangs out at this site.
Even what we serve at dinner... here's what I brought:
A "Greek" salad, a recipe I got from a fellow traveler in weight loss circles about a decade ago. The family always wants me to bring it! What a difference from high-fat, high-salt things that could be the basis of so many holidays.
The protein was less than the healthiest choice (KFC), but several of us removed the skin and breading before eating it. Nobody is critical of anyone making a choice, healthy or otherwise. The really amusing piece to me was that at the close of the meal, when only the glasses remained as we were talking... were we chowing down on cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream? No... look at this "treat":
Red-skinned carrots purchased at a local farmer's market that morning!
After the meal, as we were gathering in the driveway to watch the kids set off the daylight fireworks, I glanced at my pedometer and saw I needed another 3,000 steps to get in my 10,000 minimum for the day, so I examined everyone's shoes to see who was up for a walk... and no less than six of us (three sisters and the three adolescents) went off on a half-hour jaunt through the neighborhood.
One of the joys of that walk/jog (I did intervals, my nephew horsed around and smoked us all)... was getting to know these almost-adults a little bit better. As my nephew kept pace with me, we talked about sprinting versus distance training and what some of HIS goals for fitness might be. Granted he's an adolescent male, naturally thin by virtue of biology and lifestyle... he walks home from summer school these days, a five mile hike five days a week. But he's thinking about it... and that makes me happy and hopeful for his future!
What do you want for the young people in your life? An active, able life, right? So, what are we, as the "top" generation doing about it? Modeling healthy behavior on holidays is a great start!
The photo now on my main page are the gathered adults (including my niece, who's on her first "real job" in her chosen field)... the nephew in question is behind the camera.
Hope your holiday was a good one, and if you're not a US denizen that you had a great weekend. Onward to a new week... being our sparked selves!
Edited to add link to Greek Salad recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Sunday, July 04, 2010
So far, blogging every day has been a good thing for me: got me back tracking, too, not just blogging. As I think about what to post here, there are the mundane details of what happens in life: great dinner last night, by the way, we had Greek Salad (a healthy recipe I make), and then my daughter in law made tilapia in a bag... a recipe she worked out to be similar to something Red Lobster used to have on their menu.
Doesn't it look delicious? Tasted wonderful... that's fresh thyme and lemon on the top layer! A whole lot healthier than what my sister plans on doing tonight.
Link to the recipe: www.redlobster.com/press/media_kit/t
I got the tour of their little place... a washer/dryer and a bedroom suite have been acquired, used... and she's made it a cozy little nest.
Came home while it was still light (it doesn't get dark around here 'til 9:30 or 10 pm this time of year) and was able to see some of the neighborhood fireworks as it got later.
Tonight... the sisters!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
For those of you who have "always thought of myself as thin"... you can probably skip this blog. You're "going home" when you lose weight. You are immune to the "change back" messages that come disguised as "compliments".
But for those of us who have always considered ourselves, "the fat sister", "the chubby friend", etc., it becomes a particular challenge as we get close to or achieve our weight loss goals. Even more so around holidays and family gatherings, when we are faced with the comments of well-meaning or envious people.
One that was particularly devastating to me one year was my "skinny sister" lamenting over the fact that I (two inches shorter than she) was weighing in at less than she was. Huge "change back" message. The joking "you're going to blow away", or even "hello skinny" can be a "change back" message to someone (like me) who thinks of herself as substantial.
One recent comment that got me thinking was from a gal who has always kept herself in good shape. It was simply, "You aren't still losing, are you?" I sloughed it off with "no, I'm maintaining, but just starting to wear clothes that fit." But it bothered me.
Body image issue number two: do I feel comfortable in clothes that fit? I'm trying to learn to be. But the clothes that fit bring on those kinds of comments, and those kind of compliments have to be dealt with, or I end up eating over them.
One day at a time: breathe, get my activity in, and remember that outside the skin (other people's words) is not something I can control. Arm myself with the knowledge that this weekend has a high potential to generate comments from people I might have boundary issues with.
I am me. A real live individual. Not an extension of someone else or an assigned identity within a sibling group. If I can just remember that, I should get through not just dinner with daughter in law tonight, but bring a dish with the sisters and families tomorrow.
Who'd have thunk it? Over 50, you can still have identity issues!
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