Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

It’s the turn of the century, yes, nineteen ninety-nine, and my Mom and I were walking out of the office to our family business on New Year’s Eve.  She was seventy-seven at the time.

“Stay safe out there!” she reminded me, as Mothers do. “Remember as long as you have your health, you have everything.”

Little did she know what the next fifteen years of her life would bring.  Dementia stuck her about ten years later.

As her mental health declined she slowly forgot her loved ones.  First it started with my kids’ names, then my wife’s.  She didn’t live long enough to get to the point of forgetting my name. 

Not to say she didn’t struggle at times to make the connection of what our relationship actually was.  Was I her father, was I her husband, was I her son? 

A gentle reminder and a kiss on her forehead as she grabbed my arm with a squeeze and a smile.  Mom would let everyone in the memory care unit know “That’s my boy!” 

Once again all was right in her diminishing world.  A world that narrowed down to “When do we eat, and did you do any real estate today?”

I miss her every day.

I shouldn’t have many worries in my life.  I have a wonderful wife, great kids with a grandson on the way.  I don’t lose sleep over paying my bills most of the time but there is a nagging at the back of my mind.

One of my worries is “What if my mind starts to leave me?”   Dad had a stroke, Mom dementia and eventually passed away due to a brain aneurism.  The genes are there to lead me down that path.

Perhaps Andy Grove, founder and former CEO of Intel, reflects my thought process today, “Only the paranoid survive.

Well I’m “Paranoid”

As I continue on this journey of 1% improvement the body aspect is becoming more and more paramount.  Eating better, drinking alcohol less, exercising more are the tools I am using to beat back the shadow of mental illness.

The stakes are high.

Will I  allow this worry to cripple me?  No.   Will I do everything I can to stay in the light of awareness.  Most Certainly!

Live, Love Matter

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