I sat in a hospital room when I was 16 years old, holding my Granny’s hand, we were waiting for her to die in that room. She was young still, but years of type 2 diabetes had taken a toll on her. She suffered for so many years with this horrible disease, only to be laying in this hospital room, knowing that she would never see me wear a wedding dress, knowing she would never see another violin recital, she held my hand knowing it was the last time I would ever touch her hands.
When I was at the worst of my health, my husband would lay next to me in our bed, he’d wipe away tears, he’d hold my hand, not knowing what was going to happen to me. He was strong for the both of us, but I saw the pain he went through day in and day out watching me suffer, watching as we thought there would be a tragic end to my story.
Health never just has an impact on one person. We like to think it does. We like to think our junk food eating ways is our choice, and will only impact us alone. We like to think the excessive drinking or the smoking or the bacon wrapped foods are something we have earned a right to do. And it’s true, we can choose whatever path we want when it comes to food, however, do not fool yourself into thinking that your food choices only cause you harm and potential suffering.
We never want to think that our actions will hurt someone else. For the most part, most of us do not want to cause the emotional suffering of another person. Yet, the choices we make every day will determine so much of the future of those you love. You might not want to think that the food choices you make today might contribute to years of suffering from type 2 diabetes or heart disease or dementia or any other horrible disease. And while the lure of unhealthy habits is strong, I am not sure if the temporary satisfaction of food or a lifestyle habit is ever worth the future suffering of someone you love.
It might seem harmless, the junk food, the foods that are now known to hurt our bodies. It might seem like it is a matter of choice, a matter of having the right to eat whatever you want.
But, the story doesn’t end there. The story ends with a 16 year old girl not knowing how to live life with out her Granny. The story ends with a husband sneaking off to cry as he fears the worst for his new wife. The story ends with a Mom not being able to dance at her daughters wedding because the lung disease finally caught up with her. The story ends with a father not remembering who is son is when he walks into the room. The story ends in a place in which we never want to think about. It’s not simply a matter of eating what we want, or living the lifestyle we want, and digging in our heals because it is our right. Our choices will impact the people we love, no matter how much we tell ourselves that they only impact us.
I don’t think any of us do this intentionally. I certainly never meant to cause my husband pain, nor do I think my Granny meant to cause anyone pain through her disease. I don’t think it is ever a conscience decision any of us makes. A lot of us live in the moment, we can’t see the hospital room in the future, we can’t see the tears streaming down the face of the person that means everything to us.
There is an emotional side to health, a side that we rarely talk about, a side that no one really wants to talk about. It’s a scary side, a side that hurts and causes pain.
And for those of us left on this planet, for however long we have left – I think we can do what we can to not cause any hurt and pain of the people we love. Death will happen to all of us, suffering for years on end from a preventable disease does not have to happen to all of us.
When you are stuck and wondering if you should give this healthy plant-strong living a try, think about the entire story. Stop thinking about the now, the hassle of grocery shopping, the stupid remarks by co-workers, stop thinking about the small nuisances of getting healthy, and start thinking about how this story ends. The temporary satisfaction of food is not worth a story that ends with unnecessary suffering and pain for you or for the people who love you.