Ten days ago I got the call that my Dad was at the ER and they were waiting for an ambulance to take him to a bigger hospital in the closest city. My dad has an aneurysm and he had gone in for severe abdominal pain. His local hospital took a CT scan and had seen that his aneurysm had grown and were concerned that this was the cause of his pain. Long story short it turned out to be a pulled muscle. We have known about his aneurysm for a little over two years now, and the doctors have assured us that it was not yet large enough to be concerned. But in that moment, for the first time, I thought I could lose my Dad.
I realized that my kids are young enough that they might not remember him, especially my daughter. I lost both of my grandpas before I was 5. One died from drinking, the other from smoking. I never gave much thought to it growing up, but now as a mother I get angry about it. I was cheated out of getting to know both of them because they choose unhealthy lifestyle. Now I realize that we know more and there have been a lot of changes since then.
My dad is a 2 plus pack a day smoker. It pisses me off to think that my kids will be cheated out of getting to know him because of this. I was a smoker until I found out I was pregnant with my first. I want to get in my dad's face and slap him tell him to stop for us. I want him to be around for a long time. I want him to try to get healthier for his family. At the same time I realize that he must want to change and he must want it for himself.
There are times I want to stop in the middle of a run. Give up. It is usually when I am just not in the mood. Sometimes when I am at the gym I think why am I here? It is at these times lately that I think about my dad, my kids, my future grandkids. I know that exercising and eating healthy do not guarantee that I will be around for a long time, but my kids will never have to be pissed off that I did not do my part. All I have to do is picture my dad lying there in the hospital bed with the oxygen tube in his nose looking just like my grandpa (one of the very few memories I have of him) and I push myself to keep going. Am I doing it for my kids, yes, but for me as well. If unhealthy habits take me too soon they are not the only ones who get screwed in the deal, I get screwed too.