At 53 years of age, I run, I lift, I eat healthy foods. Why? Well, 3 years ago such was not the case. I was on my way to diabetes, which my mother has (Type 2). She never told me that diabetes runs in the family until I told her that I was getting close to becoming diabetic myself.
Much to my chagrin, my parents have taught me a valuable lesson. They're both in their seventies yet they look aged beyond their years. I moved my mother from Portland, OR to a nearby nursing facility. The intent was to have her close so that I could pick her up and she could visit and we could go on day trips. That was three months ago and she hasn't left her room.
In three months I have watched my mother go from a relatively alert elderly person to someone who is waiting to die. She's now too weak to get out of bed, she is losing her memory, she has simply given up...And get get to stand here and watch her die. The nursing staff feels that she's has lost any/all motivation...which is not good at all. The anti-depressants she's on aren't doing anything, the antibiotics to help her with her chronic urinary tract infections don't seem to be working and they make her hallucinate. Her one intact leg/foot looks like it's ready to split open which may of course require another amputation.
I have so many mixed feelings about this and one that won't go away...She did this to herself...and I feel guilty about feeling that way. As I visit and watch her progressively get worse with each passing day, she has always refused to be active. Her diabetes was brought on by her sedentary lifestyle and refusal to exercise.
I hate seeing her this way. I've pleaded with her for years to no avail, and now it's too late. The only thing good I see that has come from this is that it has galvanized my conviction to care for myself. My father is not much better off, but that's an entirely different story. My parents have taught exactly what NOT to do in order to live a healthy, active life...and I have a front row seat as my mother slips away.
If this isn't a good enough reason to keep running, I don't know what is. Now if only I could reconcile the mixed feelings of heartbreak, guilt, and anger, I'll be good to go.
We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder.We always have the choice.
I'm sorry, Dave. I know where you're coming from. Almost my entire family is sedentary and overweight. My aunt passed away suddenly last month at the age of 62 from heart disease with complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, so I know (to a point) how you feel. It's unfortunate. When people say "HAHA, I only run if something is chasing me!" I respond that I'm literally running from obesity, heart disease, and hypertension.
I'm really sorry about your mom. I'm glad you've made the decision to better yourself based on their mistakes. I'm doing the same thing.
PRs: 5k: 27:22 (5/13) 10k: 56:06 (4/13) HM: 2:13 (4/12) M: TBD (9/13)
Sorry you're going through that. My parents have similar stories, although they are in somewhat healthier shape than yours. My mom has been a diabetic and high blood pressure patient for years and she won't take care of herself. My dad tries but not enough to keep them away from danger. It is very hard to see our parents do this to themselves. Hugs. Stay strong.
DamarisMarathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
PRs: 24:57 (5K); 51:25 (10K); 42:46 (5 Miles); 2:04:31 (HM); 4:34:09 (Marathon); 8:00 (Trail 50K)
Damaris Runs with Asthma
Aww... (((Dave)))... I'm so sorry for your mom, and your dad as well. And for you too, of course. I understand how much you must worry about them. And I understand your anger and subsequent feeling of guilt as well. It's difficult to master forgiveness, but I know you as a good man, so I know you'll find it in you to forgive your parents for not taking better care of themselves throughout the years. You know, you say you learned something from their example, but you could also have chosen to follow in their steps. That would have been the easy thing to do. Instead, you were smart and you did the hard thing. Congratulations to you for changing your life around and also for being a good son.
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
Sorry to hear it Dave, but I know how you feel. My father lost a leg to diabetes, and continues to not take care of himself the way he should. There's only so much you can do. You should try to let go of the guilt though, that isn't yours to carry, but I know that's also easier said than done. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, or inactions.
All we can do is live our lives the best we can and try to be examples to our families, and especially our children. That's how we break the cycle. Now that my wife and I are both healthy, we are providing much better examples for our children to follow.
5k 19:26 4/27/13 - 10k 41:35 1/15/13 - 20k 1:24:55 2/23/13 - HM 1:28:10 3/17/13
Upcoming - ERR 10K 5/25 - OK5K 6/8 - MS 5K 7/30 - Strider Mile 8/17 - RnR HM 9/1
((Dave)), I'm sorry to hear about your parents. Relationships with the people who raised us can be tricky. Your Mom made choices and is now paying the consequences for those choices. You don't need to feel guilt for recognizing that fact. You love her and hurt for her. You are a good son. Give yourself a break.
Thanks for your kind words, empathy, and understanding guys. It is greatly appreciated...It really is.
Dave, I think most of us have family members who slowly destroy themselves whether it's through poor nutrition or alcohol or drugs or tobacco or whatever. I have a cousin who was recently admitted to the hospital and I think her weight was close to 500 pounds. She is now in a nursing home and it is questionable whether she will ever manage to live independently. When I saw her in the hospital, her primary concern, rather than saying, "oh my god I can't live like this any longer" was to get a new bariatric bed.
One of the things I learned through some struggles I had earlier in my life is that the only thing in this world that I can control is what I do. I have no control over what others say, think, or do. That's up to them. That attitude helped me enormously from two different aspects. First, I took charge of my own life and quit blaming others for any ill that befell me. I even tell my older daughter that nobody can "make" you mad. Somebody does something and you get mad as a result of what they did but you are the only person who can make you mad. Second, I quit taking responsibility for the choices other people make. I can offer my input but, ultimately, what anyone else in the world decides to do is their decision and not mine.
Mind you, I am certain that if my parents were in the same situation as yours, I would also experience those feelings of heartbreak, guilt, and anger. That is normal. I can control what I do but I can't always control how I feel. I can control what I do as a result of those feelings and it sounds like you are handling it in exactly the right manner. I wish you luck.
Short term goal: 2:59:59 (November, 2013)
Mid term goal: Any race over 80% of top AG standard
Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life. (I started running at age 45).
Brad is a wise man...
Hot Day Meat Chaser
Its posts and replies like these that made me want to come back here.
What happylily said about forgiving your parents is absolutely true. Every single person on the face of this planet it imperfect, and that includes those we desperately love, like our spouses, and siblings, and children, and parents. Your guilt and anger and heartbreak may never go away completely, but once you forgive your parents for being unhealthy for you and for themselves, the easier it will be to help them through their own pain. Because, as LTH says, you can only control what you do. It's up to you to forgive them, even if they haven't asked for that forgiveness. You will feel lighter once you unload that burden.
Many of us have terrible burdens we run from. I think we should focus on what we rare runnign toward. To your health, friend! :-)
I dont have much to add that hasnt been posted here.
Good folks in these here places. sometimes we are jerks, sometimes we are funny, sometimes we show our ass. (sounds like home)
glad you shared. it helps us to realize that there is good people that are going through tough times everywhere.
you are a good dude who makes good choices. keep your chin up.
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