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Sobering Funeral Home Reunion

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A former boss' mother passed away, so I went to the funeral home last night to offer my condolences. I knew it would likely turn into a long night as other former co-workers showed up since everyone would want to chat about the "old days" and catch-up with everyone.

I had worked at that company for 16 years, but many of them had worked there longer than that, so we have a lot of history with each other. The company was the target of a hostile take-over ten years ago and everyone was let go on the day the merger closed and we all scattered. Some have kept in touch with others, so whenever small groups of us get together there are a lot of updates shared.

It was very sobering this time, however. I barely recognized some of the people because time has not been kind to them. Some had gained a lot of weight and others looked ashen because of poor health. I couldn't believe my ears when some of the men were comparing bypass stories and trying to out-do each other. One had a double bypass, one had a triple bypass, and then one boasted about having a quadruple bypass. Is that really something to boast about with a smile on your face? And then someone tried to outdo them all by saying he had "whatever they call it when you have five bypasses". I've never heard of anything beyond a quadruple bypass before.

The sobering thing was that they all seemed to brush this off as just being part of life. That may be the problem with the advances medical technology has taken - we just expect there to be a pill or for doctors to just patch us up and put us back together. The other sobering thing was that these men were only five years older than me - much too young to be having heart attacks and bypasses! One man had a stroke in his late 40s and is not on disability and another one had a "widow maker" heart attack and boasted that the survival rate is only 20%. I think that gave him too much confidence, and not a sense of mortality, because he boasted that he still hasn't slowed down even though his doctor told him to reduce his stress. It was also sad to hear of so many people who had already died, well before retirement age, and how many others are fighting various forms of cancer.

Most of these men were the hard-driven types who gave their lives to their career at all costs. They lived the high life with travel, expensive dinner meetings, and lots and lots of alcohol. In addition to their health issues, there have been many divorces and a few suicides and I just wanted to scream at them and ask if it had really been worth it. I'm sure they wouldn't have gotten my point because they're all still competitive.

While it was great to see some of them and catch-up, I found it to be very sad, too, that they hadn't lived balanced lives and now their health and many of their relationships were in shambles. I am glad that I've tried to live a balanced life and not sell my soul to the company and have outside interests and friendships away from the office. That means I didn't get the promotions and higher salary that the others got, but that's okay - I still have my health, and that is priceless.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Quite a sobering event! It does seem unfortunately that people we seldom see over the years we catch up with at a funeral. While that is part of life I agree that some of the other life events should not be viewed as an expectation. We certainly as a nation have that quick fix mentality that I can take a pill or do "something" that will fix the problem instead of trying to change behaviors that got us to where we are.
    2098 days ago
  • XRSIZE18
    This IS sad... I'm dealing with this right now with my mother. She is having unexplained numbness randomly and she's only 47! She is very overweight and smokes 2 packs a day. Every time I try to talk to her about her health, she brushes me aside and says something to the effect of "Everyone dies sometime."

    Chin up and just remember that YOU are on the right path and nobody can take that away from you.
    2099 days ago
    It is sad when people don't recognize how toxic their lifestyle choices are. The bypass boasters sound as if they may have been glib to cover their underlying fears - or their stubborn denial of the fact that real food and movement can be the best possible medicine.
    So glad you are on a healthier, more wholesome path!
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    2100 days ago
    Wow, what an evening you had! I was one of those people for a while, but I took a medical scare and used it as a springboard for changing my life/lifestyle. I know medical science can only do so much, the majority is up to me to take care of. Don't you wish you could just knock their heads together nd make them wake up?
    2100 days ago
    Wow, I can see how this event was both a bad thing (well, obviously bad because it was a funeral) and a good thing. It's nice to catch up with old friends but their stories are DEFINITELY SCARY.

    I'm only 32 but that's part of the reason why I wanted to drop my excess 20 lbs. Yeah, to some people it might ONLY be 20 lbs but being overweight, even by just a little, dramatically decreases our overall health. I don't want to worry about a stroke or heart attack when I'm only in my 40s or 50s. It's kind of sad that people accept this as just part of life.

    I just read somewhere today that the US accounts for 5% of the world's population but 2/3 of its overweight population. Isn't that a scary factoid?

    *sigh* I really wish people would see that we as a society have to make some dramatic changes.
    2100 days ago
    Wow, I bet that was sad. Glad you're greatful for your path...have a healthy, happy day!
    2100 days ago
    Wow! This is a real wake up call. I've watched this kind of behavior too, and yes it is "normal". You are right about people just expecting modern medicine to "fix it".

    I am so happy to hear that this shocked you. That means you are no longer in the cycle. You're out! And you're getting healthier every day.


    2100 days ago
    I gather this was a real opener for you. It's amazing how some people just don't get it. Hope you have a wonderful day today. I'm glad you are taking care of your health and are here with us.
    2100 days ago
    sorry for the loss of the person and how the company was handled and you are right we should not just expect medicine to fix everything but we do I think it is more important to take care of ourselves as best we can then let the dr's do what has to be done

    have a great day
    2100 days ago
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