The Empty Chair at Amy's Wedding
Monday, January 18, 2021
I've known Kenneth and Lisa for over 10 years now. They briefly lived near me when he was going for his master's degree and moved back to their home state a good solid timezone away. They married young and have two kids, James and Amy. I've kept in touch and visited a few times.
Kenneth's mom and dad were not the paragons of health when Kenneth was growing up. They both smoked and were overweight for most of their lives. To their credit, they did both give up smoking several years ago and did lose weight. Kenneth's dad has a physically active job and has been able to keep his weight down. Kenneth's mom, on the other hand, gained a lot of weight in recent years. About 2-3 years ago, Kenneth started mentioning her health as a concern when he and I would talk.
Kenneth and Lisa married young with their kids both now in their teens. As such, when I got the text indicating that his Mom was in the hospital, for whatever reason the prayer included, "Please make this the health scare that leads to the turn around. That she can be there for the upcoming high school and college graduations."
It's not that this didn't also apply to James. He's a good kid who I also see finding someone and likely getting married straight out of college, if not sooner. Amy though? Easily the sweetest child I've ever met. "Give grandma victory and give her enough years to make it to Amy's wedding." was the followup portion of the prayer.
Kenneth's mom died of a heart attack three days later while still in the hospital.
I get it. I really do. Looking back having been in the ballpark of being morbidly obese, I know how hard being healthy in the western world is. I also get that anything can happen in 10-12 years even when one is in the best of health and with the most effective of efforts to be so. So ultimately who knows.........
That said, there will be an empty chair at Amy's wedding, metaphorically if not literally.
Assuming the traditional timelines of their family, I will be roughly the same age as Kenneth's mom was when James's and Amy's kids are close to graduation. I silently commit to them and will vocally commit to their parents that I plan to be around for those graduations and weddings.
I made a similar commitment to my friends and family a few years back when we lost a family member who chose extremely unhealthy habits as part of their lifestyle. I renew that commitment and am currently in the process of taking inventory of my health for some of common silent killers of those 25-40 years older than I.
Sure I may get blindsided too late by some hereditary or undetected health issue. There may be a fatal fall or accident with my name on it. That said, if I die before my time leaving an empty chair at a graduation, wedding or awards ceremony of some kind, my friends and relatives will know that I fought against that. Intently, deliberately and strongly I will have fought against that.
If you have Granddaughters, nieces or any relatives who will be in their teens and twenties when you will be in your 60s or 70s, think of them. Put their picture(s) on the same page as one of your wedding photos as a reminder. Make the health decisions that will get you to theirs.
It would mean a lot to the Am(ies) in your life today for you to be there for their weddings tomorrow.
- TD Out!