March was meant to be a big month around this blog, but instead it's been quiet. On March 1, our base community here lost another mama, friend, and military spouse to unfathomable tragedy: cardiac arrest. She had just turned 44. She had three beautiful daughters. A husband who adored her. She was someone I always looked forward to seeing. She read this blog. She once helped me get Maddie out of a terrible jam. She advocated tirelessly for her special needs kindergarten-age daughter. We've known the family for a very long time and it is heartrending, to say the least. After the devastation we witnessed in 2009, we fervently (and maybe naively) hoped we would never have to witness it again.
I hate cardiac arrest. I hate it as much as I hate brain tumors and drunk drivers and freak waterskiing accidents.
Of the five cases of heart-related deaths or scares we've known in the last four years, five of them have been women. The three deaths of those five where sudden and wholly unexpected. A surprise. Who knows they have heart issues? Certainly not me—in part because I haven't had a physical that wasn't pregnancy-related in over ten years. I hate going to the doctor. While I still find the time to advocate for mamas to get in the photos more with their children to honor Anne, I haven't managed to find the time to get to the doctor for a current health assessment.
Maddie, Gracie, and Bridget can tell you all about what you don't have time for, because they've now known two military families with sisters—friends of theirs—who have lost their mamas. A beloved teacher, who should have lived to be 100. Gracie doesn't have bad dreams about bad guys in scary movies—she has bad dreams about heart attacks. It's a little too close to home for them and for me.
And so, there's this: instead of just wringing my hands about this loss, my friend Deanna and I are taking a small step of action. We've both made appointments for a physical this month. I vaguely know my cholesterol is outrageously high thanks to the magic of genetics, but I don't really know what it is—or anything else about my current health. I am still wringing my hands, but at least I'll know more about my situation as I do it. I'm willing to bet you know the last time your children had a well-check appointment, but when was the last time you went to the doctor for one? Please, do this now: make an appointment. Maybe you'll find you have a 100% clean bill of health, and maybe you'll find there's something you need to pay a little more attention to. Encourage the women in your life to do the same. Even if your insurance doesn't cover such frivolity as a physical (ha) there are frequent health-screenings available at drug stores and grocery stores and county clinics everywhere that are both affordable and accessible.
And thank you.