My dad drank a lot, ate like every meal was his last, and wouldn’t exercise – not even to do the minimal therapy after knee replacement. He died of a massive stroke at 83. No lingering in a rest home, no extended decline. WHAM. Dead. And it was, to be frank, a blessing. He had been losing some of his abilities in such a way that portended a rough future for him and my mother.
So it makes you wonder. Would I be better off living more piggishly and dying suddenly like him, or doing my healthy program and living out my very elderly years in a rest home, like the women in my family tend to do?
If you’re a health professional, you’ll say, “you don’t know if you’re going to be lucky enough to die suddenly. You might die slowly and painfully.” True enough.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m all about finding balance. So for me, here’s the answer: I want to feel well for as long as possible, and that means moderation, meditation and exercise. Nothing’s perfect, and we don’t know what the future holds. But for all the pain it caused us to lose Dad, the way the old hedonist died sure was a blessing. He said he would never go to a rest home, and that “they’re going to have to carry me out of my house feet first.” That’s exactly what happened. If there’s a heaven, he’s up there laughing at us.