Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Cautionary Tale

I recently learned of the death of someone I had once been very close to. I didn't learn of the death until months after the event. Still, it saddened me a bit, because it didn't have to happen.

The person that died was young by our standards. 54. A hundred or so years ago, a man dying at that age would not be considered that remarkable.
He spent a lot of his youth on farms. Doting grandmothers baked him cakes and cookies and he learned from his grandfathers and father that it wasn't a real meal unless there was a substantial slab of meat on his plate.
In high school, he worked part time and grabbed dinner at a local burger joint, and when he got home found his mother had left him dinner in the oven, so he ate that, too.
At 18, he joined the military and basic training peeled the pounds right off of him! He met a girl---also from a farm family--and they married and had a child. She had been raised on fried foods and meals with lots of red meat, too. He liked her cooking.
He got out of the military and moved closer to his parents. His marriage faltered and then failed. He moved back in with his parents, got a part time job and attended a local community college. Lots of fast food meals and double portions of his mothers cooking.
He met a woman and after a two year courtship, they married. The new wife cooked stir fries with small portions of meat and served fresh fruit for dessert.Salads were sometimes the main entree! He would stop on his way home from work and buy himself donuts or a meatball sub and eat them before he got home. His mother baked him cakes and pies and brought them over. On grocery shopping trips, he always made sure to sneak in a few bags of chips, a frozen cheesecake, a package of cookies, "Because I deserve them!"
Because of various reasons, by the time he was 39, that marriage faltered and failed as well.
Back to his parents and his mothers cooking.
At age 44 he discovered he had cataracts. At age 46 he was diagnosed with diabetes.By age 50, he was more or less bedridden. His father had died, but his mother was still there, cooking for him, and now, helping him in and out of bed. One day his mother was helping him get out of bed so she could change the sheets and she slipped and he fell on her, breaking her back. At age 52, his mother now unable to care for him, he moved into a nursing home. At age 54, after several heart attacks and two heart surgeries, he died.

I can still hear him saying "I deserve to treat myself now and again." as he piled another bag of chips or another cheesecake in the grocery cart.
Yeah, he was my ex husband.
I was never a big "meat eater". I just think it was my general nature as a child. I was raised a portion of my childhood in Europe and I learned early that a slice of good cheese, some bread and a piece of fruit is an acceptable lunch. My Irish grandmother spoiled me with stews and soups where meat was a flavoring, not a "star" of the dish. Fresh fruit was always more of a treat to me than any pie or cake.
I tried with my own children to teach them to enjoy healthy foods, and for the most part, I think I succeeded.
The Darlin; Man enjoys vegetarian meals...although the Girl still cries out in dismay "No meat?!?" when she sees a tofu stir fry about to grace the table. Cake is a rare treat here...birthdays or Easter or Christmas. I think I had a handful of potato chips..ummm...about 4 months ago.Tostada chips with a fresh salsa maybe once every two weeks for the kids. (I don't much like tostadas)
There's no reason for a healthy person to decline so badly that they die at the age of 54. I am 54. I am up every morning, feeding and milking the goats, cleaning out the chicken coop, etc. Breakfast this morning was a glass of 2% milk, a scant handful of walnuts, a few raisins and a small bowl of oatmeal.
Large portions of meat...I still don't eat them. I love a good steak, but most times I only eat half of what most people consider a "portion". I will over indulge on green beans and broccoli, though!
Look, homesteading is hard business...you need your health to do it!
We all know how to eat healthy, all you have to do is look online, watch the news or pick up a book.
Don't dig your grave with a knife and fork...there is so much more life out there!


  1. You cannot save people from themselves, Lamb. Sad, but true.

  2. I tend to over-indulge on goodies as a reward because since I quit drinking 13 years ago, I tell myself "I deserve a bad habit now and then". But you are right, how sad, because he had control of his intake and didn't have to die. I don't eat a lot of meat, but I have a hubby who could eat meat and potatoes every single night. Of course, he is 6'4" and 175 lbs soaking wet. But I remind him being skinny doesn't save him from clogged arteries.

  3. "Don't dig your grave with a knife and fork...there is so much more life out there!"

    I absolutely love this!! We have a few people in our family that think, "if I can't eat what I want then what's the point of living?". It makes me crazy. What's the point of living if you are too sick to enjoy life? I would rather feel great, be healthy and be around for my children than eat another slice of pie (and I really like pie!).


Because of a couple of rude people that left comments that included links to porn pages and such, I have been forced to start moderating comments again.