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I am Stunned and in Shock...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My cousin, whom I love dearly, has died.

I don't know what to say. At roughly 9:35pm this evening, another cousin called and left a message on my answering machine while I was asleep. I didn't recognize the name at first and let the message to go machine. I tend to not answer my phone when it gets late unless I know who it is. When I checked the message, I was completely stunned and shocked. My cousin passed away today. I called my aunty immediately. No one has any exact information yet.

I had last emailed my cousin just this past Thursday. We were talking about our various plans for the weekend. Didn't really think anything about it. My aunty said she'd talked to her the other day. I don't know all the details, but it seems that my cousin hadn't been answering her cell phone or picking up any of her messages at her apartment. This is very unusual behavior for my cousin. She's one of those people who's constantly on her cell phone. Her sister and another cousin (who had a key in case of emergency) went over to check. I don't know how they found her. Guess we have to wait for the autopsy. Never thought I'd find myself having to write or say something like that.

I've been worrying about my cousin for some years now. I've always said that one day, I'm going to get a call and find out she died of a massive heart attack or stroke. I sincerely hoped that it would never ever come to this. I thought, maybe something minor might happen to scare her into taking some action. too late. now, it's too late.

Part of me wants to be sooo angry at her for not taking better care of herself. but I'm too shocked. This is what I do know. Apparently, she hadn't been feeling well the last few days. She didn't mention anything to me in her email, but she was having "flu" like symptoms. As I said, my cousin wasn't very good at taking care of herself. For many many years, she refused to see a doctor to even get a simple physical. She was always afraid they'd find something. I told her, that was the point ! You go to the doctor now before something does happen later. It's called preventative medicine. In past, we'd had arguments about her health and that's caused tension between us. I had to learn to keep my mouth shut if I wanted her to talk to me.

You know how we get posts asking how do we get our loved ones to do something about their health ? We've always had to say that there is nothing you can do to make a person want to change even if it's for their own health and well being. They have to want to change and if they don't want to change, there is nothing you can do. You have to sit on your hands. They'll change when they are ready.

A few weeks ago, my cousin had mentioned that she had a couple of appointments with a doctor. She wouldn't tell me or any other cousin any of the details. She could be like that some times. Tell you her entire life story one day and then be totally evasive the next day. So, I know something worried her enough to go to the doctor and at the time, I felt a bit better. At least she's going to a doctor I thought.

Why do I think my cousin probably had a massive heart attack ? She was a good candidate. She had excessive work stress (worrying that she could get layed off didn't help). She was worrying about what to do with the family house she'd inherited. A lot of her stress was self inflicted. She made situations worse than they had to be. She didn't know how to let go. Saying she was a type A personality as well as a control freak is putting it mildly. She internalized it all. She didn't eat right. She didn't exercise. She wasn't sleeping. She was morbidly obese. When she caught cold/flu, she'd be sick for weeks, not days. She was also diabetic on both sides of her family. I suspected she was diabetic, but ignored those warning signs too.

When it came to her health, she buried her head in the sand. She didn't want to know. She put her faith in God. She said God would take care of her. This is where we'd get into arguments. I told her that while God may be watching over her, she HAD to do something for herself. She couldn't keep ignoring her health. She had to take charge and she wouldn't do it. It's not that she didn't worry about it, I think she was too scared to do anything. I think she felt she was too old to change.

And now I am angry... I am sad... I am upset... What makes this worse is that it corresponds with the death of my former boss last year. She too died of a massive heart attack just before Christmas. They were both the same age. My boss was 57 years old. My cousin, may she now rest in peace, was 57 too.

Dear God, my beloved cousin wouldn't take care of herself. Now... please take care of her.

To all my Spark Friends, you are never too old to make a change. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Please don't ignore warning signs.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am so sorry for your loss.... emoticon
    2653 days ago
    I'm so sorry about your cousin Karen. It's a shock when a loved one passes away but more so when it's sudden. My thoughts and prayers are with and all of your family.


    2654 days ago
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    2654 days ago
  • ABB698
    emoticon Karen, I am so sorry for your unexpected loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers emoticon
    2654 days ago
    Karen, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Sending you and your family my deepest sympathy.

    2654 days ago
    Holy wow. I'm so sorry for your loss and your family.
    2654 days ago
    I don't know what to say, Karen. I know you've been so concerned about her for so long. I suppose just take comfort in the knowledge that you truly did do everything you could, and most importantly you were still there for her even when she wouldn't listen. You tried to help, and then you stood by her. That's all anyone could ask of a friend.
    2655 days ago
    Karen, I am so sorry for your loss!
    2655 days ago
  • LISA01605
    I am so sorry for your loss :(
    2655 days ago
    It's the unexpectedness of things like this that always stop me short. Yes, you knew she was probably not well -- and for a long time, sounds like -- but somehow we still don't expect it. Our friend Mark who is 49 and a bit overweight recently had a massive stroke. It's been so hard watching him trying to overcome even the simplest things. He was a very robust guy.

    But the saddest part of all of what you said is that we can't make people change. Some of us even can't make those healthy changes for good ourselves. I guess the question is the same for each of us, but the answer is always different: What does it take to make it worth the effort to really change?

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Karen. I'll be praying for you.

    Love & Hugs,
    2655 days ago
  • KRAEG3
    Hi Karen,

    I am saddened by your post. It is hard to loose someone in the first place, but I think this time of year is especially difficult. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Hopefully, someone out there will read this post and think twice about taking care of themselves.

    Take care of yourself (no pun intended),
    Kristen emoticon
    2655 days ago
  • ADAM2298
    I'm so sorry for your loss, And it is at times like these that I am at a total loss as to what to say. No matter what I say, it seems to be not enough to fill the void. I extend my heart felt sorrow for your loss and offer kind and healing words. No matter what we say, it is difficult to have someone we love, leave so suddenly. I wish you well.
    2655 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/12/2011 10:38:58 AM
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

    emoticon emoticon
    2655 days ago
    2655 days ago
    I"m so very sorry. What a shock and grief for this time of year. We're thinking of you and your family.
    2655 days ago
    You and your family are in my thoughts.
    2655 days ago
  • REDSHOES2011
    Hey don't beat yourself up.. You argued with her and she made choices and as tough it is to digest -you did all you could..
    This is the worse reality check anyone can get, keep fit and fighting for better health..
    I have been stunned over and over again until I had to take action.. It sucks sitting at a empty table at christmas..
    Red emoticon
    2655 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/12/2011 9:14:27 AM
    Karen, I am so sorry to learn this news about your cousin. It's such shocking, heartbreaking news, and I'm especially sorry you had to be the recipient of it. That it coincides with your boss' death must make the sadness of this time of year resonate all the more... What you said was so true; God helps those who help themselves. Only we can get in the car and go to the doctor...and yet, as you mentioned, we all seem to have family members who don't take the kind of care of themselves that they absolutely need and deserve. We try to say something; we avoid saying anything; in the end, nothing can work because their will is not there. Saddest of all is the thinking that we're too old to change; I'm proof that it just isn't so. May your dear cousin rest in peace.
    2655 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss, especially at this time of year. My thoughts are with you.
    2655 days ago
    So sorry to hear of your loss. I hope that you are able to take good care of yourself while you grieve for your cousin and gather with family to celebrate her life. Blessings to all of you.
    2655 days ago
    Ah, Karen, my heart goes out to you and your family. Whether she ignored warning signs or failed to change unhealthy behaviors doesn't alter the fact that losing your cousin is a blow to you all, and never moreso than this time of year.

    Thank you so much for posting this. It must've been very hard to write, but if ever we needed a reminder of just how much IS within our control to become healthier, this serves as a genuine 'wake-up call.'
    2655 days ago
    So sorry to hear this painful news. You and your cousin are in my thoughts
    2655 days ago
    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    2655 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my dear cousin, who was like a sister to me, about a year ago and have had a really hard time putting my life back together. I miss her every single day.
    2655 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved cousin. You and your family are in my prayers.
    2655 days ago
    I am in tears reading this, I am so sorry for your loss, Karen. emoticon
    May your beloved cousin rest in peace.
    2655 days ago
  • CATS_MEOW_0911
    I am so sorry for your loss. You and my family will be in my thoughts.
    2655 days ago
    I'm sorry to read this. I am sure that your many fond memories of her will buoy you through the sad days ahead.

    Know that by living your life of healthy choices that you did the best you could to help her to change her life. No one could have done more in a case like this.


    2655 days ago
    2655 days ago
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