The other day a friend of mine died. He'd been diagnosed with cancer a year before. After a few operations he recovered somewhat, at least enough to retain his incredible intelligence. His mind was an amazing repository of knowledge that included history, literature, music and the arts.
In the past year three other close friends have shuffled off this mortal coil. Inevitably, I think of what happens next. Who goes next? It certainly could be me. It could be another friend or relative. Although I feel well and seem to have no illness or disease, one never knows what's going on inside one's body. A silent killer may be lurking there, waiting for its opportunity to show itself.
My son just informed me that his doctor found that he is a diabetic. He's very upset, as am I. He is a relatively young man who now has to change his lifestyle in a dramatic way. He has to adapt to a new way of looking at food. He has to learn to follow a rather rigid diet and to exercise on a regular basis. His attitude is good. He tells me that this is a "wake up" call. and indeed it is. Perhaps it will give him the impetus to lead a healthier and more productive life. Wouldn't that be a fine outcome?
The old saw that we should look at every new day as the last day of our lives suddenly seems to take on new meaning. As Ann Landers used to say, "Wake up and smell the coffee."
Cliche's that we laughed at now don't seem quite so ridiculous. My mother used to tell me that the only important thing is your health. How I scoffed at her! It took many years of living to recognize how important it is that we try to look beyond the irritants of our lives and focus on the positives. There are so many things that make living a great event. There's no need to spell them out but I would like to tell you that to me the most important aspect of being alive is the ability to love. Sure, food, sex, sports, culture and the like are all wonderful, each in its own way. For those who have family and others to love, life takes on a whole new meaning.
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