Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day six hundred and eighty two ... A moment's notice.

Every so often I stand in front of my favorite chair and try to picture myself gone.

This is what I do when there's something nagging in the back of my mind; it helps me get things done.

Can anyone else take care of it?

Will anyone else take care of it?

If I can't answer yes to both of these questions I get my ass in gear and make it happen.

I remember my mom calling me up sometime around June of 2005, right after she had gotten her new treadmill. She had named it "Harley" in honor of Dr. Harley Haynes, her dermatologist--the best in the country.

"I've been riding my Harley," she said.

"That's great, Mom. Good for you."

"And I've lost five pounds!", she said.

And I congratulated her on it, profusely. I was truly happy for her and I was really hoping this would be a turning point. She--like all of us in the Johnson clan--had a weight problem. It had started shortly after she had me at age 29, and despite some valiant attempts and successes losing ten pounds here, five pounds there, even twenty pounds at one point, it showed no signs of truly stopping for thirty five years.

But something happened at age 64 and she decided to do something about it: she bought Harley, and she started to ride.

Sadly, this grand attempt to get healthy would not last for long. Because in September of 2005 my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; in sixteen months she would be gone.

I can't, nor will I try, to blame her death on any one thing. I'm not a doctor, nor will I ever be. But I know that there is a link between obesity and pancreatic cancer. I know that my mother was well aware of this, too. My mother was one of the smartest and most proactive people I ever knew. I also know that she told me more than once how she wished so much to have really fought the weight battle sooner.

And now Harley the Treadmill sits in the front room of her house in Mattapoisett along with her and my aunt's ashes. Her favorite chair is there, too.

I have had plenty of scares in recent days. A little bump here, a mole there, the occasional heart flutter and, of course, the nagging weight problem. I see my doctor at least twice a year and he tells me I'm doing great.

I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs anymore and I hope I stopped in time.

I'm only 39 and I'm planning to have plenty of years left on this magnificent earth.

I try to take care of the things that need to be taken care of before I get a reminder notice--both in tangible and intangible forms.

I water the plants twice a week.

I take out the trash.

I recycle.

I do my laundry when it gets dirty and I don't let it pile up more than necessary.

I write thank you notes.

I hold the door for people, and I make sure there's no one coming behind me before I let it close.

I keep my phone charged.

I pay my bills.

I clean my house.

I wash my car.

I cut out coupons and I use as many as I can before they expire.

I visit my mom's elderly friends.

I hire professionals to do the jobs that could potentially kill me.

I try not to swear around children.

I root for the Red Sox.

I tell my girlfriend I love her whenever I can, but I try not to overdo it.

And whenever I just feel like taking a nap, or putting it off until tomorrow, or letting just a few more minutes get in between me and the rest of my life, I stand in front of my favorite chair and I try and picture myself gone.

Can anyone else take care of it?

Will anyone else take care of it?

If I can't answer yes to both of these questions I get my ass in gear and get it done.

And that is why I wrote today.

Thanks for reading,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

-melancholic exhileration of responsibility and accountability-
really beautiful and peaceful-