I love my Mum, although I’m sure at times she’s not sure, and very often probably thinks I don’t need her anymore. The truth is I do and we all need our Mum just not in the ways we maybe once did.
I worry for my Mum’s health a lot, and am writing this public letter to hopefully… maybe… get through to her where conversations and other methods have hit a brick wall or been met with resentment and misconceptions.
She has smoked without much regret or concern for most of my life. Like many people I’m sure you know, gives herself justification in the so-called stress relief it gives. Somehow the 4000 chemicals, 43 cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins including tar, arsenic and cyanide are a worthy CON for the PRO’s that the short lived nicotine rush gives.
Partner this with the same reasoning for a big fondness for wine drinking, a completely sedentary lifestyle, and a typical modern Western nutrition full of contradictions (Wholemeal grains, Dairy, low salt margarine, semi-skimmed milk etc). I think most of my fitness friends can see where this is going even if my Mum cannot. She may not want to hear this but she is a prime candidate for heart attack, Diabetes or Cancer.
People in general appear pretty happy to play Roulette with their lives. I think of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancers like number options on a Roulette table. The more we make dangerous decisions about our health the more we are spreading chips down on the table numbers. The more we increase our chances of our number coming up with the Reaper Croupier who stands overseeing the Roulette table. Cancer and disease is not a lottery as many kid themselves to believe (barring some exceptional genetic issues). It’s about exposure to things that damage you, be that from choice or environment. Knowingly or unknowingly. We blinker ourselves to the known dangers thinking we are somehow bulletproof or that life is too short to worry about such things. We look for the exceptions to the rule and bank on ourselves being one of them. Well life is short… and can be made to be a lot shorter if you feel that way I guess. There is a big difference between enjoying the good things in life in moderation and destructive excess.
All the short lived gains from some of these so-called pleasures in life ultimately make you pay down the line with a cumulative effect. Drinking alcohol is proven to disturb your sleeping patterns and raises cortisol levels. Ironically known as the ‘stress hormone’ you can see how the logic is twisted when people use it as a regular de-stressing method when they are probably denying themselves extended periods of deep sleep cycles. Yet they don’t connect the dots on feeling tired all the time coupled with a poor diet. I won’t even get into to effects of cortisol levels and how they are tied to issues around fat storage. Smoking…well it speaks for itself.
“Familiarity breeds contempt”
When you feel you have the tools and knowledge to help someone close to you improve their life beyond what they can see for themselves, it hurts to stand by and watch them slowly deteriorate their own health. If my Mum was taken from me due to ill health from a heart attack, cancer or some other disease that was compounded by lifestyle choices..how would I feel? I’d feel guilty…really guilty and angry. I’d feel huge guilt for ignoring the problem and sitting on the sidelines when I could have done more. Is it really worth the cost of losing someone for fear of upsetting them and forcing them to acknowledge some serious lifestyle issues?
“We don’t stop playing because we get old; we grow old because we stop playing.” (George Bernard Shaw)
This has been in the back of my mind for some time now and even more so now my girlfriend and I are about to become parents and my Mum will become a Grandparent. I really want my Mum to be around as long as she can be to be part of my child’s life and be strong enough and independent enough to do all the amazing things there are to be enjoyed with grandchildren. Just the other day I overheard an aunty talking about struggling to carry her grandchildren and the toll it took on her energy levels running around after them. This can be as simple as it needs to be for fitness..be fit for a purpose and that could be as simple as picking up your grandchildren or playing with them. Back to the topic in hand though. The biggest thing people fail to account for with ill health is loss of independence…which goes hand in hand with loss of dignity especially when that loss of independence is big enough. When this is taken away from you due to major ill health it is really hard to get back…sometimes you never will.
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”(Edward Stanley)
I NEED my Mum to be a Nana. I NEED my Mum to pass on lessons taught by her Mum, that she passed on to me and I can pass on to my child. I NEED my Mum for trusted advice and support as I enter this scary chapter called Parenthood.
Getting older does not have to equate to slowing down, getting weaker, a broader mid section and failing health. It’s proven that strength training battles osteoporosis and the problem of losing muscle mass as we age (Sarcopenia). Decent nutrition is the best preventative medicine there is that sits right under our nose. Couple exercise with nutrition and you can have massive change with some very minor efforts.
So if you read this Mum…this is your Son.. offering you all the help I can give as repayment for all you have done for me. It will cost you nothing but a little time and effort, and faith in your Son who works with all sorts of abilities. I’ve yet to kill anyone which may be much to your surprise. You deserve more…you deserve your health and you deserve as much time as possible with your grandchild and your family. Do not take things for granted and even if you don’t want to change anything for yourself…please consider doing it for our future addition to the family. I’m sure they’ll want you around for as long as possible…as we all do.
Love ya Mum