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    JOHNTJ1   72,505
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints

Accepting The Challenge To Live My Life

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My sister told me I needed to hurry. She said dad was hanging on so he could say good-bye to me. Just an aside, the state police, especially the highway patrol donít grasp the concept of ďhaving to hurry.Ē Looking back, I was glad I had eight hours and four hundred miles to prepare. Aside number two: I hate hospitals, sickness and death. They create an anxiety attack in the pit of my stomach just waiting to occur. My dad had always been a strong person, both physically, and mentally. Until his vision left him he and my mom walked to Mass every morning, a round trip of over two miles. Likewise he took water aerobics well into his 80ís. Yes, I know, I had an amazing gift in my life. I am 58 and until six weeks ago both my parents were alive, lucid, and relatively healthy. All this spun through my mind as I drove north. Aside number three: When you are really scared and feel extremely threatened deep inside counting your blessings isnít much of an antidote. I didnít want to go in alone. I donít know how to handle that stuff emotionally. I sort of freeze. I get tongue tied. Joan acts like she does this stuff every day so she went with me in case my motor skills abandoned me. My dad had an oxygen mask on so it was difficult to understand him. He reached for my hand and motioned for Joan to pull the oxygen mask away.

ď I have no regrets, Iíve led a good life, but gosh it went by so fast.Ē

We stayed with him for a little while longer and then we were told to leave. He looked up at me and squeezed my hand. The look said ďRemember what I just said.Ē Dad hung on another two days but that was the last lucid moment I had with him. In all honesty the next few weeks were a blur. There is disbelief, followed by numbness, followed by this over all deconstruction of your emotional self as you go to pick up the phone to share things with him and realize he wonít be on the other end. Finally something that resembles resignation begins to build a place inside of you.

So I am driving down the road last Friday and suddenly there is this defined ray of sunshine in my soul. Aside number four: sometimes it takes a while for me to ďget it.Ē I realized that what he was telling me was to take advantage of every possible moment you have in your life and donít ever miss an opportunity to do something new or different. I thought about the stuff I wished I had done with the kids when they were younger. Aside number five: I have a 24 year old daughter who still reminds me I never took her fishing. But I have come to believe that regretting the past is like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesnít get you anywhere. My dad was telling me to take advantage of every opportunity that crossed my path. I might not get a second chance.

Somewhere in this moment a lot of my anxiety disappeared. It was like the story in the Gospel, where Jesus healed the blind man, suddenly he could see clearly. Most of what we fail to do comes from some sort of inborn fear that we wonít succeed so I mean why try. We who struggle with our weight carry an extra self-imposed cross. We hold ourselves up to ridicule because we believe the world is judging us negatively. So we stay at home and sit on the couch and munch on Cheetos and lament our fate. We never see ourselves as being inspiring to other people. We rarely take the opportunity to get out there and make our mark. Weíre going to wait until we get to that perfect pants or dress size. My dad pointed out in a most poignant way that waiting, is wasting time and resource.

Yup, I am over weight. Yup, I struggle and please donít consider me arrogant or self-involved, but I believe that my struggle and my journey can be a source of inspiration to other people. It CAN if I get off the couch, put myself out there and allow myself to experience life show other people striving for health can pay off. I havenít lost a hundred pounds and I never will as long as I limit the world before me. This is as much about what comes out of us as what goes into our mouths.

This blog is about me and about you. My dad, and possible many people in your life, may have pointed that out to us. Itís safe to treat this as a heartwarming Kleenex moment. Thatís the easy road. The hard road for me is to go out and live his challenge.

Anyone want to take a walk?

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JOANNHUNT 1/30/2013 10:58AM

    I sympathize with you. My Mother died 2 years ago and I regret not being there for her more. I let my younger brother deal with my parents. He is dealing with my handicapped Dad at present time. I am there for him as a sounding board, but don't go to visit as it is too painful. I attend every function my brother makes to get us 6 kids together. Right now we are trying to get the grandchildren involved in these functions. Not doing too well at that. Not going to stop trying as my brother doesn't think my Dad will last another year. I let myself wallow in self pity when my Mom died and put on the pounds. My brother has left my Mom's voice on the answering machine and at first it killed me to leave a message and now I enjoy listening to her voice. It reminds me to keep up my spirits and keep pushing forward. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Sorry for the rambling.

Comment edited on: 1/30/2013 10:59:20 AM

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SILLYHP1953 6/27/2012 1:31PM

    You reminded me, and others, of probably the best lesson we need to learn in this life. Thank you for sharing your family and love with us.

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REGILIEH 5/12/2012 8:37AM


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BUZZANDWOODY 5/10/2012 9:33AM

  I strongly agree with Gailruu, it isn't too late to take your daughter fishing!

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SANDIBETTS1 5/8/2012 4:31AM

  Thank you for this blog. I have a dear neighbbor who passed on Sunday. I am experiencing a lot of emotion. .I know you will get that fishing trip in for your daughter.

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SWEDE_SU 5/7/2012 10:15PM

    what a gift - thank you for sharing!

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LAURA747681 5/7/2012 7:23AM

    I lost my dad suddenly in 2007. No chance for reciprocal good byes, but I remember distinctly thinking We had already said everything to each other. The love, the respect, the caring. No regrets. I still miss him a lot.

Thanks for the reminder to live in each moment, and do step out and dance each day.

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GRANDKATZ 5/6/2012 12:19PM

    Thank you John for reminding me to put my regrets about some of the things I've missed out on, into the past. There's no reward for past regrets. emoticon

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BLOOMING52 5/6/2012 8:38AM

    Thank you. Very inspirational.

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LYNMEINDERS 5/6/2012 1:18AM

    Where are we walking to John.....
I'm right there beside you wlaking along with you.....

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MCMAHANEY 5/5/2012 11:10PM

    Where we learn in the moment or later in life, our parents teach us some of the greatest lessons in life.

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GEEMAWEST 5/4/2012 9:57PM

    What an awesome gift your dad left you with. And yes, I would love to take a walk with you. We could talk about so much.

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    Thank you for sharing.
I cannot imagine my life without my parents. Although they annoy me (and me them!), I love them so dearly. I guess I need to show it to them more. My kids love being with them. You had a great father to tell you that so that you can act on it now.
I see my kids growing up so fast and feel so blessed and so full of love when I am with them. That is true happiness.


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GAILRUU 5/4/2012 5:30PM

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father. My mother is 94 and her body is still living but her thinking processes are gone. I miss the old Mom.
It is still not too late to take your daughter fishing!

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GAILSQUEST 5/4/2012 12:49PM

    Thank you.Yes,death really sucks!
I lost my beloved husband of 34 years in Dec.I`m still grieving and learning to live life alone.
I,too picked up the phone to call mom or dad after they were gone.
Now I catch myself thinking I need to share something with my husband and then realize that He`s gone.
Fortunately,exercise is my therapy.I spend a lot of time on the treadmill at the gym.It`s like a friend that I visit every day.

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KM1116 5/4/2012 12:43PM

  Great read... Thank you so much for sharing!

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4THELOVEOFDOLLS 5/4/2012 11:17AM

    What an amazing blog and yes you are inspiring others and making a difference. Thank you for putting yourself out there. emoticon

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WMUGRAD 5/4/2012 11:14AM

    Thank you for sharing. I'm in tears at this present moment. Wishing you well in your healing and health journey.

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CBRIGGS1956 5/4/2012 10:59AM

    So very sorry for your loss John and very grateful that you chose to use your loss to once again help the rest of us with your inspirational comments.

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RSTENNER 5/4/2012 10:45AM

    Oh John, so sorry in the loss of both your parents. It really is a difficult phase to go through realizing for the first time, that you or I are now the older generation. And that our time on this earth is on a countdown of sorts, hopefully we have another 25 years, but that remains to be seen. I will never get over losing my parents, but I also know that is the way of life and they taught me well and I want to go on and be an encouragement to my children and nieces and nephews. We are the teachers now and can lead by example. You'd better be making that bucket list, did you watch that movie? But ya know, my mother is with me everyday anyway. She comes to me in my dreams and we have the best time. They will always be in your heart. You take care of yourself, get some exercise, eat well, and I agree, go fishing with your kids! emoticon

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SANDIBETTS1 5/4/2012 6:46AM

  I love your blog. I love your "cover" page.

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DEBK0923 5/4/2012 1:04AM

    great blog, thank you for sharing something personal

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EGR2BEME 5/3/2012 10:09PM

    So sorry about your Dad! What a great message for us all - thank you for taking the time to write it. I need that much! I hope you get to go fishing with your daughter soon!

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GRATEFUL_BEING 5/3/2012 9:56PM


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  I was just sitting here, thinking that I will never get what I want out of life when I just happened to click on your blog. Thank you. Thank you so very much. emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 5/3/2012 8:47PM

    emoticon How wonderful to see you as the FEATURED BLOG in the Sparks Mail. What an honor. emoticon

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TYLYNN61 5/3/2012 8:29PM

    Yes SIr Lets go for a walk. Thank You so much for being who you are and for sharing yourself with us. I am so grateful I got to read your blog. you are AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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TUBJUMPER 5/3/2012 7:52PM


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KATHYTEEPLE 5/3/2012 7:47PM

  Thank you so much fo sharing this very personal time in your life. I really did find it inspirational.

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 7:48:28 PM

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IAMAGEMLOVER 5/3/2012 5:57PM

    I want to take that walk. I am sick of existing, I want to live. emoticon for the blog.

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QUIKSYLVER 5/3/2012 5:34PM

    ď I have no regrets, Iíve led a good life, but gosh it went by so fast.Ē

What a great last memory to have of your dad. I am not looking forward to when my parents die, but I hope they sound as peaceful as your dad sounds to me.

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HEALTHY4ME 5/3/2012 5:02PM

    Awesome blog, and yes even though I am in pain in both knees I am goign for a walk very shortly, must let my supper settle a bit. My condolences to you and your family, your dad sounds like a smart, and nice guy.
I will remember what he told you, My mum when she passed, 3 years in june. I was holdign her hand sort of laying my head on the rails of the bed, dad was laying down on a cot and dd and bf were just hanging around. I felt her open her eyes and she looked so tired. Didn't say a word, I just said OH hi mum, ( she hadn't been lucid in a day) told her I loved her, told lisa to come say hi, and told dad to get ready to come over. I knew it was going to be then. I wish I had asked her to hang on just till my son and hubby would get there, she may have.
I have many regrets about her time in hosptial, but at the time it was the best i could do for her. ( I worked in healthcare seniors).
Sorry I carried on but you made me really think, that was agood thing.
HUGS and again remember we need to cherish every day!

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SOFTBALLMOM422 5/3/2012 4:21PM

    This was a wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing your emotions so openly, we all struggle through life and need the reminder that we need to pay attention and live not just put our heads down and survive!! I will walk with you.
Thank you and I am sorry for your loss!!

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FITMAY 5/3/2012 4:02PM

    I want to take the walk! Let's live!
LOVE your blog!!

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JEHART1 5/3/2012 3:58PM

    This is truly a heartfelt and amazing blog! Thank you for sharing it. A great reminder to us all that life is short, don't waste the time we're given.


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    Loved this blog! Made me think, no more time wasted. My parents are getting old fast and we have to enjoy every moment! Thank you! emoticon

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TINNATEE 5/3/2012 2:44PM

    I am sorry that you lost your dad. You have such a way of expressing things. I just wanted to tell you thank you. It is a powerful message and one I personally needed to hear.

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    Fantastic blog -very inspirational ! I have been grieving hard for my mother for nearly twelve years now and she would be so happy to see that I am finally ready to let go and live my life. I will see her again one day but until then I am going to try to enjoy every moment I can here !

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 2:39:15 PM

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KMSIMMONS1 5/3/2012 2:10PM

  Count me in! Thank you for this blog!

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PETESKI24 5/3/2012 1:40PM

    We need to remember that life is to be lived. Thank you for the reminder.

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TAURUSGIRL3 5/3/2012 1:40PM

  Well said!

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JAS9096 5/3/2012 1:37PM

    What an amazing heartfelt blog. Thank you for the reminder.

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LAINYC 5/3/2012 12:50PM


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BABYLOSTBACK 5/3/2012 12:41PM

    Thank you for sharing, and I also wanted to say it's not to late to take your daughter fishing. emoticon

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CIVIAV 5/3/2012 11:46AM

    Hand in hand John!

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EMTFF376 5/3/2012 11:35AM

    someone used the rocking chair analogy with me last night. I can't remember what we were talking about, but man that struck a chord when I read it in your blog.

Your blog has perfect timing. I have received my new triathlon training program and I WILL race this year. Period, end of story. It was a part of my life I loved and I don't want to holding my daughter's hand saying, "Jane I wish I had raced just one more season". I want to be uttering the words that your father did to you.

Thank you, dear friend, for your thoughts. They make me think. They make me laugh. They make me cry. Lets take a walk sometime.


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BANDMOM2012 5/3/2012 11:18AM

    Thanks for the reminder to live to the fullest.

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DAISYTERRI 5/3/2012 10:55AM

    Thank you!

Great Blog!

Great Attitude!

And, what wonderful, wonderful finals words from your Dad.

Yep, I'm ready to take a walk!

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MAVERICK59 5/3/2012 10:45AM


I am sorry for the loss of your father. He walks with Jesus now. He truly is at peace.
Your axis has tipped a bit and things in your world might wobble for awhile, but it eventually straightens itself out. But you will always miss him, you just learn to live with it.
I am so glad you had a positive relationship with your father and good memories to draw on when you feel a little empty inside.

Since my daughter passed, I have had so many regrets about should have, could have and didn't.
I hope you have a great time fishing with your daughter, and I hope it happens more than once!

God bless you and may the Angels hold you in your moments of grief. They will help you ride them out.

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LIVELYGIRL2 5/3/2012 10:41AM

  I can sense you will always recall your Dad's message. I know it is raw now. Some of us would like to give you a hug. it is one of lives most intense experiences, losing a parent. Years ago, I lost 4 relatives in 2 1/2 years. They all had very serious health problems such as ALS, cancer...

It can leave one in a negative permanent state or when the grief is precessed, project you into a level level of gratitude and sight for what truly matters and what you are going to do about it.

Hang in there and we are here to share new ways to digest stress and pain ( than eating marathons ).

Your Dad sounds like a special man. What a blessing to be his son. emoticon

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