Today I want to talk about my son.
Right about now he’s rolling his eyes, but that’s ok.
We all love our children and want the best for them, and I’m no exception.
We brag and we dote.
HOWEVER, I owe my son a debt of gratitude because when he was 14 years old he saved my life.
I don’t mean it figuratively or as a “saying”. I mean, he LITERALLY saved my life.
It was because of his quick thinking that I’m here today.
Here’s what he did:
I was very active in health and fitness.
At that time I was dedicated to fitness for myself and for others.
I ate right, exercised 6 days a week to my optimum level, took supplements as needed, and meditated.
I was doing EVERYTHING right.
The one thing I did OH SO WRONG was take a lot of supplements at one time.
I had done it more than once before.
(That may give you an inkling of where I‘m headed with this story.)
About six years ago I was in the kitchen of the townhouse my son and I shared.
He was watching television in the adjacent living room.
I had finished my workout and was eating my morning oatmeal.
I loaded up my hand with a fistful of vitamins.
I put the entire handful of vitamins in my mouth, took a big gulp of water and swallowed.
TRUST ME when I say this was a VERY BIG MISTAKE.
I quickly realized they weren’t all going to go down.
I drank more water.
They wouldn’t go down.
I drank more water.
No water flow and…
no air flow.
I tried to cough.
I grabbed my throat knowing I was choking.
I couldn’t call out to my son because…
no air, no sound.
I stepped around the corner of the kitchen to face the living room and banged hard on the wall.
He finally looked over at me and saw the international sign for choking. (if you don’t know it, it’s two hands on your throat. Pretty simple, eh?)
As calm as a Buddhist monk he walked into the kitchen and immediately, AND PERFECTLY I might add, applied the Heimlich maneuver to me.
It took several attempts and then the vitamins catapulted out of my throat across the kitchen.
I gasped for air.
I looked at him acknowledging the implications of what might have happened and what actually DID happen.
He hugged me, looked at me like a wise old soul and said “You ok now, Mom?”
With tears streaming down my face I nodded and hugged him again.
I said, ”You just saved my life. Do you realize that?"
He said, “Yea, ok, just don’t take so many vitamins next time.”
Then he walked back into the living room and sat down and watched tv.
I thought to myself. “THAT GUY IS SO COOL! I want to be that cool. What did I do to deserve such a cool son? And WHERE did he learn the Heimlich?”
I'll never forget those moments, or the details.
Time slowed down to a crawl. I can see it frame by frame even today.
To this day I’ve never taken more than one supplement at a time.
You might ask...
"What does this have to do with travel?"
That incident goes with me wherever I go. I‘m ultra careful with food and supplements when I travel. (Since the incident I have more of a propensity to choke, unfortunately.)
Not to mention that right after the incident I marched down to the nearest Red Cross for renewal of my First Aid, AED and CPR certifications.
I’ve used them more than once.
Most recently, two weeks ago, for a motorcyclist who crashed on the highway I was traveling…
He lived, too.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next time!
Today I was going to continue with a few more meditation exercises to use while you are on the road.
BUT I decided to talk about something more pressing and more important.
Thus far in my life I've moved 46 times.
I've met a lot of people and many marvelous people.
I have made short term, for the moment or situation, long term and life long friends.
I’m fortunate that my friends are spread throughout the world.
It’s heartbreaking when you find out that one of those beautiful people has a terminal illness.
I just found out that my friend is in hospice. I wondered why I hadn't heard from her in a while.
My first reaction was tears.
Then ANGER. (BUT anger does me no good. Who am I going to blame?)
Joy because I know her. Joy because she is in my life.
Joy because when she is gone she leaves an INDELIBLE impression on my heart.
How many people can we say that about?
For me, quite a few.
You know who you are.
You are in Spain, Germany, France, South Africa, Canada, California, New York, Florida, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Ontario, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee,
I have very little family left in the world (I started off with a really small family to begin with) and these friends ARE my family.
Just to make sure there is NO misunderstanding.
I love you.
I love each and every one of you.
I do my best to say it as often as I can in person, by email, text, What's App, Signal, etc.
If there is a mode of communication to use, I am going to use it.
Does it scare me to express my love?
Not everyone can express it as openly as I do, and that's ok.
I have friends who, culturally, it's not in their nature to hug and express verbal love. BUT THEY DO WITH ME!!
My mother used to chastise me when I was a child because she said that I never met a person I didn't like. (I 'm a little less like that now. You know time and experience has a way of shaping you. I do my best to be open AND cautious these days.)
My friend is a kind, caring, generous, funny, and compassionate person.
So many questions and most, I know, will never be answered.
Sometimes answers are REALLY overrated.
Does she know how much I treasure her friendship?
In this fickle world of here today, gone tomorrow friends, this friendship stuck, even when I moved out of the country, thousands of miles away from her.
She vacationed in the town where I moved and I got to see her every year. She made a point of letting me know when she was going to be in town.
We would have lunch, breakfast (she always insisted on paying. I tried but...generous) or would make me a scrumptious meal at her home.
The last time I saw her she had mutual friends over for dinner and we had a blast.
Whenever I was in town we did our best, given our schedules, to see each other.
We became even better friends once I moved than we were when we lived in the same town.
It’s funny how that works.
Some friends simplyfade away when you aren’t in close proximity. Life has a way of moving forward and despite our best efforts friendships just fade.
AND THAT'S OK! It doesn't mean you are loved any less.
Then when you least expect to there are some friends who make an effort to stay in touch.
Or to visit.
Her illness and rapid decline have left me in shock.
That is NOT what she would want.
I stayed awake most of last night thinking about her. About us.
She would want me to CELEBRATE her!
Lift a glass of wine to her. (Preferably Prosecco.)
Name an outfit after her.
She would want me to dance the day she leaves on. her continuing journey.
Although I know she cannot see or speak due to her advancing illness, still, I wrote her an email.
An email she will never read.
I did it anyway.
It’s the best way for me to say “bon voyage.”
Tell them NOW how you feel.
Give them a generous hug.
Who cares who hears or sees it?
My friend would not want me to be kept awake at night grieving for her. ("You need your beauty sleep." Then she would laugh this raucous laugh.)
She would tell me to live my best life. To be the ambassador of my own happiness.
To celebrate every precious day and NOT to forget how precious every day is.
She loved to travel so I will continue to travel carrying her with me in my heart - seeing it through her eyes.
I won’t say I miss you. I know by just thinking about you that you are always here with me.
*NOTE: I was just now on the phone with her best friend and we were talking about our relationship with our mutual friend.
Immediately after we hung up she got the call that our friend had passed away 10 minutes before.
While we were talking about her.
...guess what I'm doing now?