Pushing on 80 I am still quite young compared to my intended target age. But I am already experiencing a major downside of longevity – and that is experiencing the sadness of death or debilitating illness of dear relatives and friends. I am writing this in Michigan where Marlene, the long-time wife of my dear cousin and virtual-brother Eddie Max, died Sunday. I flew into Detroit Tuesday and the church ceremony and celebratory dinner were yesterday. The burial this morning was simple but the feelings shared with Marlene’s descendents were profound.
I seem to be the last member alive in my generation of my birth family. Almost all of my dead blood relatives and their spouses died younger than I am now. Papa, Mamina, Eddie Max, Marlene, Elios, Edward my father, Iris, uncle Edward. my aunts and uncles and cousins Lila, Gigi, Flip, Eros, Laurice, Flora, Elia, – and the list goes on. An exception was my mother who lived to 93. And it’s not just about deceased relatives. My best childhood friend Bobby passed away over 20 years ago and his much-younger wife passed away a few years ago too.
My sadness and feeling of impotency is sometimes more acute because so many of my younger living friends and relatives are beset with cancers, heart disease, diabetes and the other main killer diseases of our times. Almost everybody I know is younger than me and most are much younger. Some a dozen or more years younger than me have already had strokes and heart attacks, stents installed, or multiple bypass surgeries, or have had a lung removed or chemotherapy or surgery for cancers that are still active or could come back. Some can no longer walk or work and others are incoherent with dementia.
Do I think many or most of these deaths or illnesses could have been forestalled or at least postponed if these people had taken better care of themselves, had followed the lifestyle and dietary supplement recommendations in my Anti-Aging Firewalls treatise? Yes, definitely. But I cannot fault them for they followed the patterns and norms of our culture. Some smoked when they were younger, some were obese and did not exercise, some were consistently unhappy or stressed out or lived on junk food. And some, perhaps, suffered from bad luck in the genetic draw. All to my knowledge have had good medical care, but it has been the kind of care that happens after a major problem is discovered, usually too late to correct the basic problem.
I think I have a health and anti-aging message now that could have helped many of these people if they had received it and taken it to heart five or ten years ago, before they experienced any cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, etc. But I also realize that I did not have the message back then to communicate.
So much for my thoughts. Getting back to my feelings, there is a mixture there of sadness, hope and drive. The sadness is for the loss of those I loved deeply and who are now gone. And it is for the suffering and pain of those I now love deeply and see slowly sinking into disease. There is even a little guilt since I seem to be free of such problems and as active as ever. I ask myself “why do I deserve such good luck?” even though I know there is more than luck involved. The hope is of two kinds, first for the recovery of those suffering now – that they should somehow get better. And second, the hope is that such misery and death can be postponed for others – by an anti-aging program such as mine.
Finally the drive is to make a difference in the lives of others by my anti-aging activities – to prevent some of the suffering and extend the times of death. This is an extremely powerful motivator of the work seen in this blog and in my Anti-Aging Firewalls treatise. A key issue for me now is how to reach my dearest family members and friends who are still relatively healthy with health messages that work. I want very much to reach them in a way that will empower them to decide they want to live healthier and longer lives and lead them to take the necessary actions. This will likely not turn out to be easy but it is a task I am taking on.