Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Last Time We Saw Each Other

My Mom and Dad were expecting me in 1949 at the same time his cousin Leah and her husband Ed were expecting a bundle of joy. Leah and Ed beat Dad and Mom in the baby birthing lottery by a month. Darlene was born August 15, I arrived on September 20, although Dad said I was due in August as well.

I never really knew Darlene even though we were in homeroom together in our Senior year. She ran with the "popular" crowd, while I was the bookworm who wasn't interested in clothes and makeup. She was blonde to my mousy brown and was quite beautiful. I, on the other hand was average in the looks department. I was the better student. There was no animosity nor jealously between us, we just weren't on the same page as people. Friendly, without a desire on either of our parts to get to know each other except superficially. We both thought it odd that we attended all the same schools and it wasn't until 12th grade that we wound up sharing a homeroom. Our last names were one letter different.

I haven't had a chance this week to read the local daily paper and took the opportunity to do so this afternoon. That was how I found out that Darlene died unexpectedly and her funeral was this afternoon. I didn't attend although there was time for me to do so. We hadn't kept in touch after graduation in 1967. I didn't feel that I needed to intrude on her family's grief. I haven't seen any of them in so long, I doubt they'd remember me.

When I called my step-mom to find out what she knew, she was in the dark as much as I was. However, she, without remembering my age kept saying how young she was and how scary it was that she died so young. By the time we were off the phone, I found myself with an urge to hug my boss. Had she not chosen January for our annual assessments and physicals, that obituary very much could have been mine.

Since it was a sudden and unexpected death I'm making an assumption of heart attack or stroke. If ever I needed an impetus to keep me on the doctors program, this was it. All of these changes I'm making aren't easy. I've spent so much time eating in an unhealthy manner that I constantly have to fight against the urge to slide backwards, or give it up entirely. There are days when I arrive home from work tired and have no desire to do all that preparation work in the kitchen. I do it grudgingly, but I do it. After today, I'm very glad I do it, and will continue to do it because I'm not yet ready for the alternative. I like breathing too much.


  1. Sherry:

    There is nothing like the death of an acquaintance of yesteryear about your own age to remind you of your own mortality.

  2. You're starting to make me feel guilty about wolfing down that chocolate after dinner tonight. Old habits die hard, no pun intended, and it's tough making changes.

  3. High School is encased within its own special universe. I've run into people who would not have given me the time of day in HS but are free to greet me as if I had been their closest friend today. Others whom I once respected greatly have grown so differently from me that we might as well be strangers today.

    Eat well, moderately, and without fear.

  4. Whit,

    Yeah! Especially when it's a distant relative who has not lost both her parents. Her Mom is still alive and is the same age that my Dad would be if he was still here.

  5. Skinny,

    Why feel guilty? It's not the consumption of the things we like that is the problem, it's the absence of things that have more nutritional value.

    I'd rather eat chocolate cake than anything else, I'm just trying to retrain myself into liking veggies as much as I like chocolate cake. LOL

  6. John,

    There's probably a part of me that feels guilty for not keeping in touch since we were cousins. Distant cousins but still...

    I'm just grateful it wasn't me. With a blood pressure in January of 240/110 it very well could have been.

    Life for me is learning to eat healthy, lose weight and finally stop buying the occasional pack of cigarettes when things bother me. I'm going to have to stop hanging around with my friends that smoke. I do OK for weeks at a time without it and then...

  7. I have learned through Facebook about people I went to school with passing away recently. I'm only forty, and a few of them were behind me in school.

    Definitely do what you gotta do, Sherry. We need you around the old bloggin' world.


  8. Paul,

    Quite a few of my high school graduating class are gone as well. Some died in Viet Nam, some from Cancer. Others in accidents and 2 from AIDS. This is the first one that went because of possibly a heart attack or stroke. Under the circumstances, that hit a little too close to home, especially since we're related, distantly but...

  9. I have found the nicotene lozenges very helpful - too much so, for I have definately become dependent on them. But there are worse things... I'd rather struggle to quit sucking on medicated mints than to continue to struggle to quite smoking.

  10. Let me know how you convince yourself that you like veggies better than chocolate! I'm sure we all need a lifestyle change. There are some I went to school with that have passed. It's always sad for someone so young...

  11. John,

    I don't need to begin the struggle to quit smoking for awhile yet. Dr. says "One problem at a time". And she's right.

  12. Secret,

    I don't think it's a matter of actually believing one likes veggies better than chocolate. I think it's a matter of deciding how much longer I like breathing.

    I'm allowed dark chocolate once in awhile. That and the occasional 3 Musketeer mini and I'm OK.